On September 10, 2011, JACL-Honolulu Chapter and Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii held a special event, “A Decade After 9/11: Acknowledging the Harms, Learning the Lessons, and Shaping the Future.” Event co-sponsors included ACLU of Hawaii, Community Alliance on Prisons, Hawaii Peace and Justice, Hawaii People’s Fund, and NAACP Hawaii.
The forum opened with an invocation by Rev. Dr. Jonipher Kwong of First Unitarian Church of Honolulu, followed by a video presentation of the 2003 Day of Remembrance, produced and directed by Cynthia Gates Fujikawa. A panel discussion was moderated by attorney Ellen Godbey Carson and featured Hakim Ouansafi of the Muslim Association of Hawai‘i, author Tom Coffman, and UH law professor Mari J. Matsuda.
Mr. Ouansafi spoke about his experiences as a Muslim American after 9/11 and noted the better experiences of Muslims in Hawai‘i compared to the experiences on the mainland. Mr. Ounsafi attributed much of it to the lasting sad memories here of the wrongful persecution and ensuing incarceration of over 300 Hawai‘i Japanese (aliens and Americans) in camps in Hawai‘i and over 1500 in mainland camps during World War II. Mr. Coffman discussed his research on ethnic relations in Hawaii before World War II and the role of inter-ethnic social connections as a way to greater understanding and respect. Prof. Matsuda spoke about the critical need for more education and dialogue in the areas of economic justice, religions, and peace.