In July 2014 I traveled to Juneau Alaska with my grandpa who was being honored as part of the Empty Chair Memorial Dedication. He, along with his parents and siblings, were part of the small Japanese American community living in Juneau at the start of WWII that were forcibly removed and kept at Minidoka Internment Camp in Idaho. I'd never seen Juneau, and getting to see it through the eyes of my grandpa who grew up there, was the perfect way to do it. Thank you to the Empty Chair Project organizers for making this all happen! My video from the weekend is below.
MORE ABOUT THE MEMORIAL
In May 1942, the seniors at Juneau High School left an empty chair during their graduation ceremony to underscore the absence of their Japanese-American Valedictorian, John Tanaka. By extension, this empty chair honors all of the Japanese uprooted from their homes and communities.
The Empty Chair Memorial represents the void the people of Juneau felt for their friends and neighbors impacted by this injustice. The names of those interned are etched on the bronze floor.
Find out more about the project at emptychairproject.wordpress.com/about/ below is footage of the entire memorial dedication ceremony.