Sam Mihara recently shared his story to an eager audience.
Mihara, a survivor of the Japanese internment camps during WWII, spoke to World History and U.S. History classes.
He shared his real-world experience at Heart Mountain, a confinement camp in Wyoming. Mihara, a member of the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation, helped open the Heart Mountain Imperative Center, which provides a historical overview of the wartime relocation of Japanese Americans.
"The students got to hear Sam's insight and perspective of his experience," Dean of Academics Elizabeth Smith said. "He also helped make connections between the past and the present for students, making his story even more relevant."
We recently caught up with Mihara. Here's what he had to say:
You have shared your story at numerous schools, colleges, and Department of Justice offices. What is the most important life experience you tell students?
"Racial hatred is the root cause of many problems today. Unless it is solved, problems are likely to continue for everyone. Also imprisonment without justice happened to the Japanese Americans. It could happen again to anyone unless everyone is on guard to protect their constitutional rights."
Talk about your involvement with the Heart Mountain Imperative Center.
"I am on the Board of Directors, and I am a national speaker on mass imprisonment. I pass on to all of my audiences the important facts about what happened, why it happened, and the lessons learned from that process."
What is the biggest thing you want students to get from your special presentations?
"Imprisonment without justice can happen to anyone regardless of race, religion, or other group characteristic. Therefore, we must all be on guard for violations of our civil rights."
What current projects are you working on?
"The current projects I am working on include the imprisonment of immigrant Latino families and the potential registration and imprisonment of Muslims. I am appalled at the conditions of current detention centers for Latino mothers and children. The facilities are worse than what I experienced in WWII."
Learn more about Mihara.