On Friday, December 3rd, the Booker T. Washington Community Service Center (BTWCSC) and JCYC co-hosted the San Francisco premiere of Jon Osaki’s award-winning documentary, Reparations. The in-person screening was the first opportunity for the BTWCSC to welcome the community back into their facility and was attended by a multi-generational audience.
The event was an important acknowledgement of the rich history of solidarity between the Black and Japanese American communities in San Francisco’s Western Addition. Following the film, BTWCSC Executive Director Shakirah Simley, Jon Osaki and SF Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton participated in a powerful and enlightening post-screening panel discussion which was moderated by SF Human Rights Commission Executive Director Sheryl Davis.
During the panel, Jon shared that the inspiration for the film was drawn from organizations such as the BTWCSC which has a long history of working in solidarity with the Japanese American community. During WWII, the BTWCSC served as caretakers for the Kinmon Gakuen Japanese language school and used the facility to store and protect the possessions of many Japanese American families while they were incarcerated in American concentration camps. He also shared his admiration for the BTWCSC, which after the war, had the courage and foresight to hire Japanese American social worker named Toshi Koba. Ms. Koba would serve youth for decades and eventually mentor another young social worker named Yori Wada. Several references and stories about Mr. Wada were made during the discussion for his iconic career as a community leader in both the Black and Japanese American communities.
To watch the entire panel discussion, go to: https://vimeo.com/655444753 (video credit: Monks Media Works, Greg Viloria).
About The Reparations Documentary
Reparations explores the four-century struggle to seek repair and atonement for slavery in the United States. Black and Asian Americans reflect on the legacy of slavery, the inequities that persist, and the critical role that solidarity between communities has in acknowledging and addressing systemic racism in America.Co-sponsors of the December 3rd premiere include (partial list): Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach, SF Chapter and NCWNP Regional Office of the Japanese American Citizens League, Japanese American Religious Federation, Japanese Community and Cultural Center of Northern California, Japantown Community Benefit District and the Nihonmachi Street Fair.To download a complete version of JCYC Up Close: BTWCSC and JCYC Premiere Reparations, click here.