Honors Speech Students visit Asia Society Texas Center

On Feb. 22nd, SPCH 1315 Honors students, under the supervision of South Campus Speech Honors Professor Cristina Doda Cárdenas, attended a dynamic presentation entitled: “The Legacy of Japanese American Internment and Muslim American Discrimination Today” at the Asia Society Texas Center.  The panelists for the event were: our own San Jacinto College Dr. Abbie L. Grubb, South Campus Honors Coordinator, whose doctoral dissertation from Rice University was entitled “The Internment of Memory: Forgetting and Remembering the Japanese American Experience During World War II’ in which she traced how the Japanese American confinement and military service were ignored in the first decades after WWII but gradually came to light through individual efforts; and Mr. Mustafa Tameez, Founder and Managing Director of Outreach Strategists LLC, a bipartisan public affairs firm and named as one of five political players to watch in Texas by Texas Monthly. Ms. Donna Fujimoto Cole, President and CEO of Cole Chemical served as the Moderator.  In 2010 Ms. Cole was selected as one of Houston’s 50 most Influential Women by Houston Woman Magazine.

The program educated the audience on Executive Order 9066 in which the U.S. government designated military zones in the name of national security, and the result was the mass internment of Japanese Americans. Although the official exclusion area surrounded the Pacific frontier, discrimination against Americans of Japanese ancestry occurred from coast to coast.  Japanese Americans were not the only victims of intolerance in U.S. History. German, Hispanic and Italian immigrants among others have experienced their own struggles in acceptance from mainstream America. In today’s post 9/11 world, Muslim Americans are also the targets of similar prejudice, hatred and violence. During the program a civilized discussion that covered the memory of the Japanese American internment, the current status of the community, what it means to be Muslim American in the 21st century, and how we can foster a society more welcoming to Americans and immigrants of all backgrounds occurred. Students also were able to experience the art exhibit “3DPRK North Korean Portraits” by Matjaž Tančič prior to the event and additional conversation and refreshments were held in the Water Garden Terrace after the program.

Pictured in first photo: Back row L-R: Speech Professor Connie Duren, Spencer A. Chamblee, Rose Maxie and Anisa S. Abdulhussein. Front Row L-R Speech Professor Cristina D. Cárdenas, Peijun Zhao, Dr. Abbie L. Grubb, Carlos Beltran and Chloe M. Reid.