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Chizu Omori was incarcerated at age 12; now she uses that experience to fuel her activism

Hannah Kingsley-Ma
Chizu Omori shows off her "resist" beanie in her Oakland home


Oakland writer ChizuOmori and her family were among the near 120,000 Japanese Americans forced to leave their homes and relocate to incarceration camps during World War II. Omori was just 12 years old when she was sent to Poston, a camp in the desert of Arizona.

Now in her late eighties,Omori's part of a group of Japanese Americans activists here in the Bay Area called the Nikkei Resisters, who use the legacy of their incarceration to fuel their message.


"We are witnesses. We have the moral authority to tell you these things can happen if you're not aware . . . We want the world to understand we suffered an act of gross intolerance and discrimination during World War II by being incarcerated by our own government."

Chizu and the Nikkei Resisters are hosting an event called “Why We Remember the Japanese American Incarceration” this Sunday in San Francisco’s Japantown.

This story originally aired in February 2018.

Hannah Kingsley-Ma is a reporter and producer living in San Francisco.