Support the How Hawaii Changed America project
Aloha S&D members:
In our monthly meeting of 4 May, the members voted to support the work of Tom Coffman to publish a new book on the Hawaii AJA experience in WW2. Tom is the acclaimed author of deeply researched and powerfully written books on AJA history, particularly focused on pre- and post-WW2 Hawaii. This includes Catch a Wave (required reading in many high school and college courses), I Respectfully Dissent, a biography of Edward H. Nakamura, and How Hawaii Changed America, The Movement for Racial Equality 1939-1942.
This latter book was intended as Volume 1, with Volume 2 to cover 1942 thru 1945. However, Duke University Press wants the new book to combine the full time period of the Hawaii AJA experience in WW2 (1939-1945) in one single book, along with a brief summation of the resulting impacts, such as statehood for Hawaii, expanded thinking on civil rights, immigration, etc.
Because Duke is a nationally prestigious press, this opens the door to spreading knowledge across the Nation of the profound impact Hawaii and our Nisei veterans have had on improving America for all its diverse citizens. Tom is dedicating the next twelve months to get it researched, written and delivered to Duke for publication and distribution.
As many of you know, Tom is an independent researcher/writer and documentary film producer who approaches history from the grassroots up. His work is distinguished by both depth and innovation. If we the S&D are to preserve and protect the 442nd legacy, we need to support the development of such in-depth history. For this purpose we have initiated a new special project, the “How Hawaii Changed America” project to conduct and manage fund-raising efforts to support the research, writing and publication of this book. The MIS Club and Nisei Veterans Legacy (NVL) have also agreed to support a fund-raising effort in their respective memberships.
Why should the S&D support this effort?
1. This book will contribute in a very big way to perpetuating the legacy of the 442nd RCT. It will tell the story of how the many ethnic divisions of Hawaii, and in particular the AJA community, responded to the crushing challenges they faced during the war years. In Tom’s own words:
This new book will breathe with the tensions and possibilities that swelled up through the war. The resulting transformation of Hawai’i from an overseas colony, ruled by a select few, to a robust multiracial state, takes on heightened meaning with the passage of time. Hawai’i has contributed to the passage of national civil rights legislation, liberalization of immigration laws, strengthening of the institutional safeguards of liberty, the increase of East-West exchange, the spread of democracy in Asia, and a general improvement of relationship between East and West, ironically between Japan and the United States.
For a time these developments merely seemed to be inevitable aspects of a great wave of progressive change. Today they stand out as signal lights against the rising storm of global tribalization, intolerance and fanaticism.
2. This story is only sketchily known in Hawaii and is unknown to our fellow Americans on the Mainland. We believe this will change the way history is understood. This is not an academic exercise. We cannot ignore the disquieting signs of a rising tide of intolerance eroding away the hard fought gains in racial equality, else the legacy of our fathers, grandfathers, uncles will cease to have meaning. Supporting the completion and publication of this book is a small task on our part, but with large benefits to preserving and protecting the legacy of the 442nd veterans and all Nisei veterans.
3. Fund-raising to support the research and writing of How Hawaii Changed America is in direct support of the following purposes of our new S&D nonprofit corporation:
• To further historical research into the contributions by the men of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and their descendants to our Nation, our Freedoms, and the indivisible unity of our People
• To educate the public concerning all aspects of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team
How much money do we need to raise, and how will it be spent?
• Tom has estimated that $35,000 will be needed for the costs of travel and research in archives on the Mainland, and monthly expenses during the next 12 months.
• The MIS Club and NVL will be assisting us in this fund-raising effort.
• Publication costs are not part of this fund-raising project. These costs will be handled by Duke University Press itself.
How can I help?
• You can send a donation by check to the Sons and Daughters of the 442nd RCT, and note on the check that it is for the How Hawaii Changed America fund. (You will be provided with a letter of appreciation and notification that your donation should be deductible as a charitable contribution on your income tax return for 2017.)
• Please mail your donation to:
Sons & Daughters of the 442nd RCT
Attn: Shirley Igarashi
933 Wiliwili St.
Honolulu, HI 96826
• The S&D will match your donation up to $200 per S&D member, adding more “bang for your buck,” up to a total of $5,000 of member donations.
• It would be most appreciated if you could send your donation by the end of this month (31 May).
• Please pass the word — tell your relatives and friends about this new book and the story it will tell of the Hawaii AJA WW2 experience and their contribution to a better America. Please encourage them to donate also.