July 12, 2010

Scholarship Recipient: Bree Keaveney Reflection on 2010 Pilgrimage

Posted in 2010 Minidoka Pilgrimage, Civil Liberties Symposium, Japanese American Incarceration, Minidoka Pilgrimage, Uncategorized tagged , , , at 2:00 pm by chiyokomartinez

What was most  meaningful for me was spending time with Japanese Americans.  Spending time with people interested in Japanese American history.  Spending time with wonderful people.  The symposium was definitely the most important event of the pilgrimage for me.  I came to terms with many thoughts and feelings I have had about identity and family and community.

I learned Issei’s and Nisei’s were not allowed to live on campus a t the University of Washington.  Most people couldn’t afford, and still can’t, Seattle University.  I learned a greater depth about how much privilege I have.  I learned about the dust storms.  I learned people committed suicide after the incarceration. I learned about the shame and pain of the Japanese American community.  I see how Japanese Incarceration has shaped my family.
Being mixed race and deprived of Japanese culture, I never felt like I was a part of the community.  But after this weekend I feel like I am.  My story is not that uncommon in the community–not being raised with Japanese culture, being mixed race.  What I have taken away from this pilgrimage is a sense of belonging to a greater Japanese community outside of my family.  It is wonderful.
Action: What I plan to do with what I learned from the Pilgirmage

I took a class called The African American Religious Experience.  My professor, Dr. Flora Wilson Bridges is a pastor, ordained in three different denominations in the Black Church.  She was very active during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.  Dr. Bridges is a key person in charge of the ecumenical practices at SU.  She essentially builds bridges between different faith traditions by fostering dialogue.  She is also an excellent teacher–I really enjoyed her class.  One of the main themes or lessons I learned from Dr. Bridges is how I can apply the three components of African American Spirituality to my life.
The three components are
1. Cultural/Historical Memory
2. Forgiveness
3. Ability to form community
I think these three components are what I can do for really anything in life.  For the Japanese American community I will learn the cultural and historical history.  I will forgive myself and my family and the United States government.  I will form community with people of Japanese ancestry, and also people who are interested in Japanese culture and history.
Another professor I greatly admire is Dr. Cornel West.  Like Dr. Bridges, Dr. West is an activist and peace maker.  He has written several books, one of the most famous is called Race Matters (1993).  I heard him speak last December in Seattle.  Dr. West was discussing his autobiography entitled: Brother West:  Living and Loving Outloud.  He kept emphasizing the importance of family and faith in his life.  Dr. West also said that anger is a good thing and that everyone should channel their anger through love and education. So I try to live his advice and Dr. Bridges’ too.
I have become angry because of cultural/historical memory, but I try my best to forgive.  Forming community helps me to channel any anger I have through love and education, which ultimately helps me to live and love out loud.

Bree Keaveney is a 2010 Scholarship Recipient to the Minidoka Pilgrimage. She will entering her third year at Seattle University, studying Global African Studies and Sociology.

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