Little Things Matter #11, Japanese Incarceration: A Call to Action | Haiyun Lu | 4 Min Read

An Asian Woman’s Guide to Advocacy

April 4, 2023

My intermediate-level classes are in the last stretch of deep learning about Japanese incarceration during WWII.  Over the past six weeks, my students and I have gone through a quiet transformation from just being curious and inquisitive learners to passionate activists.  Especially for me, a soft-spoken and laid-back Chinese American woman who often avoids direct confrontation, I have learned so much about how I can take my own advocacy work to the next level.  

When we first launched into this topic, what students knew was very superficial.  Since I’m a relatively new immigrant from China, even though I have educated myself quite a lot through literary research, I lack direct experience and firsthand knowledge on the topic of incarceration.  Concerned that I might misinform or mislead my students, the first thing I did was to reach out to the experts in the community: Dr. Natasha Sugiyama from a local university, and Mr. Ron Kuramoto, the president of the Japanese American Citizenship League—Wisconsin Chapel.  

Through them, I fact-checked all my resources, built up a wealth of materials, and created a robust unit based on the experiential learning model.  Students are…

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Haiyun Lu

Haiyun Lu, a Chinese language teacher at the University School of Milwaukee (WI), is also a writer, blogger, trainer, curriculum designer, meditator, and Co-Founder at Ignite Chinese.