With the migrant children from the southern border scheduled to arrive at Fort Sill in the coming weeks, many people gathered to protest what the children have and will now face.
Paul Tomita, Chizu Omori and Nikki Nojima Louis were held in Japanese internment camps during World War II and what they are seeing happen to children now reminds them of what they experienced.
“Yes, yes. But we at least were with are families,” Louis said. “I wasn’t with my dad because he was taken away by the FBI into a DOJ camp, but we had our community. These children do not. Half the time we cannot even find where their families are. “
“The level of cruelty today surpasses even our time,” Tomita said.
“The issues are not exactly parallel, but it is really who are we as Americans,” Omori said.
They along with others who were in internment camps were joined by many protesters.
“I like the diversity of the support,” Tomita said. “It’s not just Japanese Americans. We are getting support from a lot of others. Native American groups, African American groups who knows what other groups and that’s very encouraging.”
While the protesters all wanted the same outcome, they all had different reasons for joining.
“I’m here as an activist for immigrant rights,” Protester Mark Griffin said.
“I look at it in the larger context of our need for comprehensive immigration reform, which would be the most humane solution to our problems instead of the detentions and the deportations we are talking about now.”
Some at the protest were threatened with being arrested if they did not leave.
“This was my first time at a military installation,” Tomita said. “It was kind of interesting. Of course I don’t want to be arrested. I figured they would bluff us hoping we would be scared off and we would take off over the hill. We didn’t.”
“There was one moment where I thought I wonder what they could do to us,” Omori said.
They said they are hoping their message has been heard by many more people.
“On the most pragmatic level, I think reaching out to our congressional representatives is very important, but it takes a coalition,” Louis said.
“It takes public awareness and I think everyone can identify with childhood, the abuses that come with childhood and when that extends to the government it is intolerable.”
People from around the country came together to use their voices in hopes of causing change.