A New Year usually means a new beginning. Itâ€™s time to look back, figure out what worked and what didnâ€™t and then move on with your life. But obviously there are some events and histories that you canâ€™t abandon so easily. Mara Kumagai Finkâ€™s family has that kind of American experience. During World War II, since her family was of Japanese descent, they were moved from their homes in the Pacific Northwest to internment camps in the desert of California. In the years that they lived there, they lost their businesses and their connections to home.
In this story produced for Minnesota Public Radio News' Youth Radio Series, Mara starts with an inteview with her Grandmother, travels to California with her great aunts, and starts to understand the impact of this event on her family. Stay tuned after the feature, because Mara and I had a conversation and she told me some details that are not in the final piece.
Above and to the right is photo of Mara and her Aunt Matsue. They are at the memorial to the internees on Bainbridge Island in Seattle, where most of Mara's family lives now.
To learn more about Japanese American internment, don't just stop at the Wikipedia page (though it is a good jumping off point.) Check out the now National Historic site of Manzanar, the camp that Auntie Matsue and Mara's grandma were interned at, and also the web page for Mara's piece, where MPR News has a slideshow of photographs of Mara and her family as well as historical shots from the 40s.