Traveling exhibit Truth & Justice: Remembering "Comfort Women" at Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA
The opening celebration of the traveling exhibit Truth & Justice: Remembering "Comfort Women" was held on March 5 at Pacific School of Religion. The ceremony was carried out as a service, which included beautiful performances and powerful prayers. Sung Sohn especially thought the prayer "I believe that the Spirit moves in acts of resistance to patriarchy, misogyny, white supremacy, and colonialism" was incredibly moving. The guests nodded in agreement when Sohn said, "As the number of survivors dwindles, the number of supporters of women’s human rights, peace, and justice will multiply and carry on the victims’ demands and hopes."
Flip Ahn Cuddy, a grandson of Dosan Ahn Chang Ho and a historian; Gordon Mar, SF City Supervisor; Eric Mar, Former SF City Supervisor and Asian American Studies Professor; and I wrote our support messages for this exhibit, which will be open until March 14 at the main building of Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.
Kudos to the GTUKSA, who organized the exhibit and the opening ceremony!
Facing History and Ourselves held its 2019 benefit dinner on Sunday, March 3. The event was highly engaging and inspirational. Various activities at the reception and moving speeches accompanied by delicious food were greatly appreciated by supporters. Dolores Huerta, the keynote speaker and the recipient of 2019 Facing History and Ourselves Upstander award, said that “we need to face history to make history” and that “education gives the youth the power to change the world.”
Joint Statement Calling for Resolution of the Issue of Japanese Military Sexual Slavery from the Women of North and South Korea, and those Standing in Solidarity to Commemorate the Centenary of the March 1st Movement
ESJF is one of the signatories of the Joint Statement Calling for Resolution of the Issue of Japanese Military Sexual Slavery from the Women of North and South Korea, and those Standing in Solidarity to Commemorate the Centenary of the March 1st Movement.
The joint statement marks the first time that women from North & South Korea, along with overseas organizations, joined together to demand peace and justice. This historic joint statement is published in today’s edition of the Washington Post. See attached.
This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Korea's provisional government.
On February 12, ESJF co-founders attended the San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting, where Gordon Mar of District 4 issued a commendation in honor of late Grandma Kim Bok-Dong. The ceremony reminded all who attended of the importance of peace, human rights, and the role that education plays in securing justice for those who may not have the means to seek it themselves.
*Halmoni means “grandmother” in Korean. This term also refers to a Korean “comfort women” survivor who has been involved in the struggle for justice since the 1990s.
On February 11, ESJF co-founders attended late SF Mayor Ed Lee’s film premiere at the Herbst Theatre. Approximately 300 people attended the sold-out event. Amongst the attendees were Mayor Ed Lee’s family members and Mayor London Breed who are pictured below. We at ESJF dearly miss Ed Lee, a genuine and caring leader who stood up for the neglected and marginalized, including former “comfort women,” for whom he demanded justice.
Today is Bok-Dong Kim Halmoni’s funeral in South Korea.
Her funeral will be open to the public as a “citizen’s funeral,” attended by her supporters, who became her de facto extended family.
According to Mee-Hyang Yoon, Chair of the Board of the Korean Council, who stayed by Kim’s side as she took her last breath, Kim expressed “rage toward Japan” and called for the continued fight to receive an official apology from Japan.
On January 29th, according to the Korea Heard, “South Korean President Moon Jae-in sent a condolence message, praising Kim for dedicating her life to revealing hidden aspects of history and restoring the dignity of human beings. ‘Grandmother (Kim Bok-dong) did not remain a victim, but was at the forefront of setting history straight by demanding an apology and legal compensation for Japan’s aggression,’ Moon said on his Facebook page. ‘I will not forget to set history right,’ he said, vowing to fulfill his duty to the 23 living survivors.
Later in the day, Moon visited the funeral home, where a memorial altar for the deceased was set up, to pay his respects.”
Click here for more information on her legacy from the New York Times.
Two days ago, the City of Glendale issued an “In Memoriam” honoring her lifetime activism in human rights and advocacy for peace at the City Council meeting.
*Halmoni means “grandmother” in Korean. The victims are often addressed as “grandmothers” because the young girls and women who were once sex slaves had grown old by the time the inhumane crimes committed against them were made known to the world. Bok-Dong Kim Halmoni often identified herself as a butterfly freely flying, rising from the bondage of suffering.
With deepest condolences,
The workshop held last Saturday, Nanjing Atrocities and “Comfort Women”: Teaching WWII in East Asia, was a resounding success. Thanks to all participants who shared their insightful comments, questions, and zeal for adding another layer of social justice into their teaching.
Thank you especially to Christina Tang and Faye Kwan for the inspiring presentations on the “comfort women” system and the useful and usable lesson plans, in spite of their busy schedule.
Thank you, Brian Fong from Facing History and Ourselves, for organizing another great workshop and for the clear and information-packed presentation! Thank you Nga for replenishing our energy with a wholesome breakfast and lunch.
Thank you, Alliance for Preserving the Truth of Sino-Japanese War (APTSJW), for providing additional resources and the space for the workshop. The tea and pineapple cake served during the break and lunch were delicious!
It was a long day passed by so quickly with educators and partners.
Many thanks to everyone,