California Educator

November / December 2016

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Why is it important to you that students and young people see Allegiance and understand what happened during that time? It has been my life's work to ensure that we do not forget and also do not repeat the mistakes of the past. Only an informed citizenry can prevent a repeat of past mistakes. That 's why it is so critical that young people learn our history and become the first to resist calls to ethnically or religiously target groups of peo- ple in this country. Are there modern-day parallels to what hap- pened to Japanese-Americans in WWII? Unfor tunately, I see the signs around us still. Trump's election after running on a racist and anti-Muslim platform reminds me of the demagogues during WWII who stirred up suspicion and resentment of the Japanese-American community. It is because of these dangerous parallels that Allegiance continues to have strong currency and reso- nance today. Learning From History Actor/activist George Takei brings his timely passion project to the big screen G E O R G E TA K E I was 4 when he and his California-born family were uprooted from Los Angeles and sent to the barbed wire enclosures of U.S. internment camps along with 120,000 other Japanese-Americans during World War II. He spent most of his childhood at Camp Rohwer in Arkan- sas and at Camp Tule Lake in Northern California. Takei, now 79, is best known for his portrayal of Mr. Sulu in the Star Trek television and film series. But he is also a prominent activist who uses his writing, social media, and continuing stage and screen work to shed light on Asian American and LGBTQ+ civil rights, among other issues. His award-winning play Allegiance, which had its premiere in San Diego in 2012 and ran on Broadway in 2015-16, is based on his personal experience and Japa- nese-American internment history. Takei and famed performer Lea Salonga star in the story of love, family, forgiveness and heroism. To reach a broader audience, the musical play has been filmed for the big screen, and will show in movie theaters nationwide for one night only on Dec. 13. Takei is eager for young people especially to see the movie, so they can learn about this often-forgotten period of history. To that end, a lively educational guide is available that offers background and information, lesson plans and activities, and other resources for educators and students (see sidebar). We asked Takei to tell us more about his work, and his thoughts about his- tory and current events. Allegiance, a musical play that has now been filmed as a movie, is based on George Takei's childhood living in internment camps, and on Japanese- American history during and after World War II. Lea Salonga and George Takei in a scene from Allegiance, which raises issues of loyalty and identity as a family becomes deeply divided. 14 George Takei perspectives Q&A:

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