Metrofocus: May 12, 2022

GEORGE TAKEI TAKES ON AAPI HATE

Tonight, actor and activist George Takei on confronting AAPI hate and celebrating Asian American Heritage. The former Star Trek star weighs in on the surge of anti-Asian attacks and previews his role as Grand Marshal in the first ever upcoming Japan Day parade at New York City’s Central Park.

For more information on the Japan Day Parade, click here.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT, ACTOR AND ACTIVIST GEORGE TAKEI ON CONFRONTING AAPI HATE AND CELEBRATING ASIAN AMERICAN HERITAGE.

THE FORMER 'STAR TREK' STAR WEIGHS IN ON THE SURGE OF ANTI-ASIAN ATTACKS AND PREVIEWS HIS ROLE IN THE UPCOMING FIRST EVER JAPAN DAY PARADE IN NEW YORK CITY.

'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

♪♪

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS,' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY --

> GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M RAFAEL PI ROMAN.

NO CITY DOES PARADES LIKE NEW YORK.

THERE'S THE PUERTO RICAN PARADE, AND THIS YEAR FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER THERE WILL BE THE JAPAN PARADE.

THAT TAKES PLACE THIS WEEK AND WILL HAVE GEORGE TAKEI AS GRAND MARSHALL.

IT WILL CELEBRATE JAPANESE HERITAGE AND THE SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN JAPAN AND NEW YORK CITY.

THIS PARADE COMES AT A TIME OF THE CITY AND AROUND THE COUNTRY.

AND SOLIDARITY IS PART OF THE PARADE'S MESSAGE.

FOR TAKEI WHO AS A CHILD WAS IMPRISONED IN A U.S. INTERNMENT CAMP ALONG WITH HIS FAMILY, THE PARADE OFFERS A OPPORTUNITY TO REFLECT ON THAT EXPERIENCE AND HOW IT HAS INSPIRED HIS OWN ADVOCACY.

JOINING US NOW TO TALK ABOUT ALL THAT AND MORE AS PART OF OUR ONGOING HATE INITIATIVE IS THE GRAND MARSHALL OF THE JAPAN PARADE, ACTIVIST ACTOR, AND AUTHOR, GEORGE TAKEI.

WELCOME BACK TO THE PROGRAM.

ALWAYS A PLEASURE TO HAVE YOU WITH US.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

ALWAYS A PLEASURE TO BE WITH YOU, RAFAEL.

WE'VE GOT A LOT TO TALK ABOUT, BUT LET ME START WITH THE PARADE.

AS I MENTIONED, YOU WILL BE THE GRAND MARSHALL OF THIS YEAR'S JAPAN PARADE, NEW YORK CITY'S FIRST EVER JAPAN PARADE.

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT PARADE AND ABOUT THE JAPAN DAY FESTIVAL, WHICH HAS BEEN HAPPENING IN THE CITY FOR WHITE A WHILE NOW.

WELL, EVERYBODY LOVES A PARADE.

AS YOU SAID, NEW YORK HAS A WHOLE PLETHORA OF PARADES, AND ESPECIALLY AFTER A TWO-YEAR PERIOD OF QUARANTINE, IT'S A JOYOUS TIME.

AND WE ARE CELEBRAING JAPAN DAY AND JAPAN PARADE THIS COMING SATURDAY WITH A STREET FAIR TO FOLLOW.

SO WE START AT 81st STREET, COMING DOWN CENTRAL PARK WEST, ALL THE WAY DOWN TO 68th STREET.

AND THEN THAT'S FOLLOWED BY A STREET FAIR ON 69th STREET, WHERE, WELL, IN THE PARADE ITSELF WE HAVE OVER 80 UNITS PARADING DOWN -- MARTIAL ARTISTS, DANCERS IN KIMONO SWAYING IN UNISON.

WE HAVE MARTIAL ARTIST, AND A MORE CONTEMPORARY MANIFESTATION OF JAPANESE CULTURE -- ANIME AND MANGA CHARACTERS ON TWO FEET, LIVING AND BREATHING CARTOONS.

SO THEY'RE GOING TO BE RIDING THE FLOATS AS WELL AS MARCHING IN THE PARADE.

SO IT'S GOING TO BE A FUN PARADE, CELEBRATING A PERIOD WHERE -- SO OUT OF TOUCH.

SO EVERYBODY SHOULD COME OUT AND JOIN US IN THE JAPAN PARADE WITH ME AS THE GRAND MARSHALL.

WELL, THAT'S THE REASON TO GO AMONG OTHERS.

NEW YORK HAS A LARGE ASIAN PACIFIC ISLANDER COMMUNITY.

IT'S THE LARGEST GROWING IN NEW YORK CITY.

I THINK IT'S FAIR TO SAY THE JAPANESE COMMUNITY WITHIN IT HAS BEEN LESS VISBLE AND PERHAPS RECEIVED THE -- THE ADMIRATION AND THE RESPECT THAT IT DESERVES.

I DON'T KNOW IF I'M GOING TOO FAR WITH THAT.

DO YOU THINK THAT THIS PARADE WILL HELP IN GIVING THE JAPANESE COMMUNITY ITS DUE HERE IN NEW YORK CITY?

WELL, THE JAPANESE AMERICAN COMMUNITY IS, COMPARED WITH OTHER COMMUNITIES, MUCH SMALLER.

SO OUR IMPACT WITH ALL THE OTHER DIVERSE COMMUNITIES IN NEW YORK CITY, AND THAT'S A STRENGTH OF NEW YORK CITY -- THE GREAT RICH DIVERSITY THAT YOU HAVE HERE -- IN CONTRAST WE'RE LESS.

HOWEVER, THE TASTE OF JAPANESE CUISINE IS NOW BECOMING ENORMOUSLY POPULAR.

THE CONTEMPORARY ANIME AND MANGA -- AND ANIME IS TAKEN FROM THE ENGLISH WORD ANIMATION BUCK IT'S PRONOUNCED THE JAPANESE WAY ANIME, AND THEY DROPPED THE 'TION.'

IT'S NOT ANIMATION BUT ANIME, AND THE CARTOON CHARACTERS ARE VERY IMAGINATIVE AND ALSO VERY POPULAR GLOBALLY.

SO PUTTING THEM ALL TOGETHER AND JOINING WITH THE DIVERSITY OF NEW YORK CITY, WE'RE HAVING A PARADE BECAUSE EVERYBODY LOVES A PARADE.

SO, GEORGE, YOU KNOW, THIS PARADE AND EVERYTHING SURROUNDING IT IS ALL GOOD.

IT'S GOOD NEWS AND GOOD VIBES FOR THE COMMUNITY AND FOR THE CITY, BUT AS YOU KNOW, AND AS I MENTIONED IN THE INTRODUCTION, IT'S HAPPENING AT A TIME WHERE SOMETHING NOT SO GOOD INVOLVING THE ASIAN COMMUNITY IS OCCURRING, AND THAT'S THE INCREASING HATE CRIME -- I MEAN ACCORDING TO THE CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF HATE AND EXTREMISM, AROUND THE COUNTRY HATE CRIMES HAVE RISEN BY 339%. IT ROSE THAT LAST YEAR FROM THE YEAR BEFORE.

WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON THIS?

WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?

WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT?

WELL, THERE'S BEEN THIS LONG SIMMERING HATE OF ASIANS FROM THAT'S WHEN THE IMMIGRATION MEASURES STARTED UP.

BUT EVERY IMMIGRANT GROUP COMING TO THE UNITED STATES CAN SOME DAY HOPE TO BECOME AN AMERICAN BY NATURALIZATION, EXCEPT IMMIGRANTS COMING FROM ASIA.

THEY WERE THE ONLY IMMIGRANT GROUP DENIED NATURALIZATION FROM THE OUTSET.

SO, THE MINUTE THEY ARRIVED HERE AND STEPPED FOOT ON U.S. SOIL, THEY WERE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST.

IT WAS FIRST THE CHINESE THAT CAME IN THE EARLY 1800s.

THEY WORKED IN THE -- ON THE RAILWAY, BUILDING THE RAILWAY, CONNECTING THE EAST COAST TO THE WEST.

THEY WERE PART OF THE 49ers GOLD RUSH.

AND SO CHINESE POPULATION IS THE EARLIEST OF THE ASIAN IMMIGRATION.

YET THEY COULD NOT ASPIRE TO BECOME NATURALIZED.

IN THE 1880s, THE CHINESE WERE OUTRIGHT BANNED FROM COMING HERE, AND INSTEAD JAPANESE CAME FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK.

ON THE PLANTATIONS OF HAWAII AS WELL AS ON THE FARMS OF CALIFORNIA, OREGON, AND WASHINGTON.

AND SO THE ASIAN COMMUNITY TOOK TURNS COMING HERE AND GROWING BUT ALSO SUBJECTED TO DISCRIMINATION AGAINST ASIANS ACROSS THE BOARD.

AND OF COURSE WHEN WORLD WAR II HAPPENED, IT WAS THE MOST DISASTROUS, DEVASTATING OF DISCRIMINATION.

WE WERE STRIPPED OF EVERYTHING WE HAD.

WE WERE ASSAULTED, YELLED AT, SPIT AT, PUT UNDER CURFEW.

OUR BANK ACCOUNTS WERE FROZEN.

AND FINALLY THE SOLDIERS CAME TO OUR HOME AND WE WERE IMPRISONED.

SO THERE IS A VERY SHABBY HISTORY FOR ASIANS IN AMERICA WITH THAT KIND OF BEGINNING IN THE EARLY 1800s.

AND THIS INCREDIBLE GROWTH OVER THE LAST TWO YEARS.

I MEAN, WHAT YOU SAY IS ABSOLUTELY ACCURATE.

IT PROCEEDS -- EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE YOU HEAR POLITICIANS IN NEW YORK CITY SAY IT'S TRUMP AND THE WHITE NATIONALISTS.

BUT IN NEW YORK CITY, AS YOU -- IT PRECEDES THAT.

MY WIFE, AS I'VE SAID MANY TIMES HERE, IS CHINESE, AND LONG BEFORE THE 2016 ELECTION, SHE EXPERIENCED INSULTS, PHYSICAL ATTACKS, IN THE NATURE OF PUSHING AND KICKING, SO IT PRECEDED THAT, AND IT CONTINUES.

WHAT IS CAUSING IT?

WHAT IS AGGRAVATING IT?

AND WHAT CAN WE DO CONCRETELY

WELL, IT ECHOES WHAT WAS EXPERIENCED BY JAPANESE AMERICANS AS CURRENT NOW PRIMARILY BECAUSE OF ANOTHER PRESIDENT -- I WON'T MENTION HIS NAME, BUT WE KNOW WHO HE IS, WHO CONTINUED TO REFER TO THE CORONA 19 VIRUS AS THE CHINA VIRUS, WUHAN VIRUS, KUNG FLU.

AND THERE ARE THE NO NOTHINGS, THE IGNORANT PEOPLE WHO ARE EASILY AROUSED, AND THEY GOT GALVANIZED AND SUBJECTED PEOPLE THAT LOOK LIKE THIS, WHETHER JAPANESE, CHINESE, VIETNAMESE, KOREAN, WITH NO DISTINCTION, ALL PEOPLE WHO LOOK LIKE THIS WERE THE KIND OF INSANE AND IGNORANT HATE THAT THEY -- THAT WE HAVE BEEN SUBJECTED TO.

SOME HAVE RESULT IN THE DEATHS.

IT WAS A HORRIFIC SITUATION THAT FOR JAPANESE AMERICANS BRINGS BACK MEMORIES OF 80 YEARS AGO.

YET IT'S IMPORTANT THAT WE NOTE THESE CHAPTERS OF AMERICAN HISTORY.

BECAUSE OUR DEMOCRACY HAS NOBLE IDEALS.

A PEOPLE'S DEMOCRACY, AND THE PEOPLE ARE CAPABLE OF ENSHINING THE IDEALS, RULE OF LAW.

EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER THE LAW, DUE PROCESS.

HOWEVER, THE PEOPLE ARE FALLIBLE HUMAN BEINGS, AND UNDER STRESS THEY MAKE MISTAKES.

SOMETIMES HORRIBLE MISTAKES.

YEAH.

YEAH, AND WE BETTER -- WHATEVER THE CAUSE, WE BETTER GET TO IT.

BE VERY CLEAR ABOUT IT.

BECAUSE IF WE CAN'T GET THE PROBLEM RIGHT, WE'RE NOT GOING TO GET THE SOLUTION RIGHT.

WHATEVER THE CAUSE, OBVIOUSLY ONE OF THE SOLUTIONS IS GOING TO IT'S GOING TO BE TEACHING YOUNG PEOPLE.

FIRST OF ALL, THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF ASIAN AMERICANS, THE MANY CONTRIBUTIONS OF ASIAN AMERICANS TO THIS COUNTRY, BUT ALSO THE DARK MOMENTS OF OUR HISTORY, SOME OF WHICH YOU OUTLINED EARLIER, OF XENOPHOBIA, PARTICULARLY AGAINST ASIAN PEOPLE.

NOW, YOU HAVE -- YOU'RE PROBABLY ONE OF THE BEST KNOWN LIVING ACTORS IN THIS COUNTRY, BUT TO MY SURPRISE, EVEN SOME OF YOUR FANS DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE OF ONE OF THE -- PERHAPS THE DARKEST MOMENT OF XENOPHOBIA IN THIS COUNTRY, WHICH IS, AS I MENTIONED IN THE INTRODUCTION, HOW YOU AND YOUR FAMILY WERE ESSENTIALLY PUT IN A CONCENTRATION CAMP IN WORLD WAR II.

I KNOW YOU TALKED ABOUT THIS A LOT AND IT'S PAINFUL, BUT IT'S ALSO MOVING.

I WAS WONDERING IF YOU COULD SHARE THAT STORY WITH OUR AUDIENCE NOW.

WELL, I TURNED 5 YEARS OLD IN APRIL OF 1942, AND A FEW WEEKS AFTER MY 5th BIRTHDAY, MY PARENTS -- MY FATHER CAME INTO THE BEDROOM THAT I SHARED WITH MY BROTHER, HENRY, ONE YEAR YOUNGER THAN ME, 4 YEARS OLD, DRESSED US HURRIEDLY AND SAID, YOU BOYS WAIT IN THE LIVING ROOM WHALE YOUR MOTHER AND I DO SOME LAST-MINUTE PACKING IN THE BEDROOM.

MY BABY SISTER WAS AN INFANT, SO SHE WAS IN A CRADLE IN MY PARENT'S BEDROOM.

HENRY AND I WITH NOTHING TO DO IN THE LIVING ROOM STOOD BY THE FRONT WINDOW JUST GAZING OUT AT THE NEIGHBORHOOD, AND SUDDENLY WE SAW TWO SOLDIERS MARCHING UP OUR DRIVEWAY.

THEY CARRIED RIFLES WITH SHINY BAYONETS ON THEM.

THEY STOMPED UP THE PORCH AND WITH THEIR FISTS BEGAN BANGING ON THE DOOR.

HENRY AND I WERE TERRIFIED.

WE HAD NEVER EXPERIENCED ANYTHING LIKE THAT.

MY FATHER CAME RUSHING OUT OF THE BEDROOM AND ANSWERED THE DOOR, AND THEY POINTED THE BAYONET AT HIM AND ORDERED US OUT OF OUR HOME.

OUR OWN HOME.

WE WERE MARCHED OUT ON TO THE DRIVEWAY.

MY FATHER CARRIED TWO HEAVY SUITCASES.

AND WE WAITED FOR OUR MOTHER TO COME OUT.

AND WHEN SHE CAME OUT, SHE HAD OUR BABY SISTER IN ONE ARM, A HUGE DUFFEL BAG IN THE OTHER, AND TEARS STREAMING DOWN HER CHEEKS.

THAT WAS A MORNING -- THE TERROR OF THAT MORNING THAT I CAN NEVER FORGET.

IT'S SEARED INTO MY MEMORY.

WE WERE PACKED ON TO TRUCKS WITH OTHER JAPANESE AMERICAN FAMILIES AND THEIR LUGGAGE AND TAKEN DOWNTOWN TO THE BUDDHIST TEMPLE, WHERE MORE PEOPLE, MORE FAMILIES WERE AMASSED WITH THEIR LUGGAGE.

AND THERE WAS A ROW OF BUSSES.

WE WERE LOADED ON TO THAT BUS, DRIVEN OUT TO SANTA ANITA RACETRACK IN THE OUTLYING AREAS OF LOS ANGELES.

AND WE WERE HERDED OVER TO THE STABLE AREA.

AND EACH FAMILY WAS ASSIGNED A HORSE STALL, STILL PUNGENT WITH THE STINK OF HORSE MANURE.

INSECTS ON THE FLOOR.

FLIES WERE BUZZING ALL OVER.

THAT WAS TO BE OUR HOME TEMPORARILY WHILE THE CAMPS WERE BEING BUILT.

FOR MY PARENTS, IT WAS A DEGRADING, HUMILIATING EXPERIENCE.

BUT FOR 5-YEAR-OLD ME, I WAS EXCITED.

WE GET TO SLEEP WHERE THE HORSEYS SLEEP.

AND THAT WAS THE BEGINNING OF OUR INCARCERATION.

AFTER A FEW MONTHS, CONSTRUCTION OF THE CAMPS FINISHED, AND THEY ANNOUNCED THAT WE WERE GOING TO BE TRANSFERRED AGAIN, THIS TIME BY TRAIN.

MY FATHER TOLD US THAT WE WERE GOING FOR A LONG VACATION TO A -- BY TRAIN.

AND AGAIN, I WAS EXCITED.

WE GET TO GO ON A VACATION, AND A TRAIN RIDE TO BOOT.

THAT TRAIN RIDE TURNED OUT TO BE THREE DAYS AND TWO NIGHTS, SITTING ON THE HARDWOODEN BENCHES OF THIS TRAIN, ROCKING THROUGH THE SOUTHWESTERN DESERT.

AND EVENTUALLY WHEN WE GOT TO EAST TEXAS, WE STARTED TO SEE SOME GREENERY, AND THEN WE PASSED THE ARKANSAS BORDER, AND IT BECAME LUSH AND VERDENT AND THERE WAS BLACK WATER THEY WERE GROWING OUT OF.

FOR THIS SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA KID I HAD NEVER SEEN A HUGE TREE RISING OUT OF THE DARK WATERS AND THE ROOTS SNAKING IN AND OUT OF THAT WATER.

THEY TOLD ME THAT IT WAS CALLED A BAYOU.

AND THOSE WERE CYPRESS TREES.

IT WAS A FASCINATING WONDERLAND, MAGICAL PLACE.

AND THE SWAMPS WERE FULL OF AMAZING THINGS.

I USED TO CATCH THESE TINY LITTLE BLACK FISH AND PUT THEM IN A JAR AND WATCH THEM EVERY MORNING GROW AND CHANGE.

ONE MORNING THEY HAD SPROUTED LEGS.

AND THE NEXT MORNING THEIR TAIL FELL OFF.

AND THEN THEY CLIMBED OUT OF MY JAR AND ESCAPED.

I MEAN --

YEAH, FOR A KID IT'S AN AMAZING STORY, BUT AS YOU HAVE WRITTEN, YOU KNOW, FOR THE ADULTS IT WAS SUCH A SHAMEFUL AND HARD EXPERIENCE.

AND AFTER THE FOUR YEARS, AS YOU HAVE WRITTEN, MOST OF THE ADULTS WHO WENT THROUGH THAT DIDN'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT.

BUT YOUR FATHER WAS DIFFERENT.

YOUR FATHER WANTED TO TALK ABOUT IT.

HE TALKED ABOUT IT TO YOU, TO YOUR BROTHER AND TO YOUR SISTER, AS A LESSON IN PARTICIPATORY DEMOCRACY SO IT WOULDN'T HAPPEN AGAIN.

HOW DID HE DO THAT AND WHAT DID IT MEAN FOR YOU?

THIS WAS AFTER THE INCARCERATION AND WE SETTLED DOWN AND MY FATHER WAS IN REAL ESTATE.

AFTER DINNER I WAS FULL OF QUESTIONS.

I WAS GETTING CURIOUS ABOUT MY CHILDHOOD IMPRISONMENT, AND I ASKED HIM, PEPPERED HIM WITH QUESTIONS ABOUT THE INTERNMENT.

MOST JAPANESE AMERICANS OF MY PARENTS' GENERATION DIDN'T TALK ABOUT IT WITH THEIR CHILDREN, BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T WANT TO INFLICT THEIR RAGE OR THEIR PAIN OR THEIR ANGUISH TO THEIR CHILDREN.

BUT MY FATHER TOLD US THE STORY.

AND HE KNEW QUITE A BIT ABOUT IT BECAUSE HE WAS ELECTED BLOCK MANAGER.

HE SPOKE BOTH JAPANESE AND ENGLISH FLUENTLY, AND HE WAS ABLE TO COMMUNICATE WITH THE IMMIGRANT GENERATION AS WELL AS THE AMERICAN-BORN GENERATION.

AND HE TOLD ME, BECAUSE OF MY CURIOSITY, ABOUT THE INTERNMENT.

HE SAID, OUR DEMOCRACY IS -- HAS IDEALS THAT ARE NOBLE IDEALS, AND HE TOLD ME ABOUT THE RULE OF LAW AND EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER THE LAW.

AND DUE PROCESS.

BUT HE SAID, THE PEOPLE -- EVEN THE ELECTED OFFICIALS -- ARE FALLIBLE HUMAN BEINGS.

THEY MAKE MISTAKES.

PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT MADE A DISASTROUS MISTAKE.

AND THAT UNJUST IMPRISONMENT OF 120,000 PEOPLE HAPPENED.

AND BECAUSE OURS IS A PEOPLE'S DEMOCRACY, IT'S DEPENDENT ON PEOPLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PROCESS.

AND WORK TO INFUSE THOSE WORDS, WORDS ON PAPER -- THEY DON'T HAVE MEANING.

THEY'RE JUST WORDS ON PAPER.

THE MEANING IS GIVEN TO THOSE WORDS BY THE PEOPLE WHO INFUSE THE MEANING INTO THEM.

AND HE ENCOURAGED US TO BE ACTIVE IN STUDENT GOVERNMENT AND BE A PARTICIPANT IN SOCIETY.

AND SO IN MIDDLE SCHOOL, I WAS ELECTED STUDENT BODY PRESIDENT.

IN HIGH SCHOOL I BECAME SENIOR BOARD PRESIDENT.

I VOLUNTEERED FOR THE -- ACTUALLY, IT WAS MY FATHER TO TAKE ME TO THE -- PRESIDENT CAMPAIGN HEADQUARTERS IN DOWNTOWN L.A.

INTRODUCED ME TO ELECTORAL POLITICS, AND IT WAS FUN.

AND OF COURSE EVERYBODY KNOWS -- EVERYBODY WHO KNOWS YOU KNOWS YOU ARE A VERY PROGRESSIVE ACTIVIST RIGHT NOW.

I'M GUESSING IT WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE IN THE INTERNMENT CAMPS AND YOUR FATHER'S LESSONS THAT MOSTLY CONTRIBUTED TO THAT, NO?

EXACTLY.

MY FATHER WAS THE PERSON WHOM EXPLAINED TO ME, I COULD HAVE BEEN AN EMBITTERED YOUNG MAN, BUT I OWE THE FACT THAT I AM AN OPTIMIST AND A PARTICIPANT IN PARTICIPATORY DEMOCRACY TO MY FATHER, WHO IN OUR FAMILY CARRIED THE WEIGHT AND THE ANGUISH AND THE RAGE AND THE LOSS OF EVERYTHING FROM THAT INTERNMENT CAMP.

YET HE BELIEVED IN THE IDEALS OF OUR DEMOCRACY AND URGED ALL OF US, HIS CHILDREN, TO BE PARTICIPANTS.

I SEE A LOT OF TIMES YOU CALL HIM YOUR HERO, AND I SEE WHY.

YOU'VE WRITTEN A 'THE NEW YORK TIMES' BEST TELLING GRAPHIC NOVEL CALLED 'THEY CALL THIS ANIME' ABOUT YOUR TIME IN THE CAMP.

IN 2015 YOU STARTED A SHOW ON BROADWAY.

WE TALKED ABOUT THAT WHILE IT WAS ON BROADWAY.

ALSO BASED ON YOUR EXPERIENCE TO SOME DEGREE.

I URGE EVERYONE TO READ YOUR BOOK.

I HOPE SCHOOLS ARE USING IT TO SHOW WHAT HATE AND FEAR CAN BRING.

I WONDER IF YOU HAVE HAD CONVERSATIONS WITH PRODUCERS ABOUT BRINGING ALLEGIANCE BACK ON THE STAGE AND TAKING IT ACROSS THE COUNTRY SINCE IT WOULD BE A GOOD LESSON FOR PEOPLE TO LEARN TODAY.

WELL, ALLEGIANCE IS PLAYED IN BOSTON AND PAO ALTO IN CALIFORNIA AND CERTAINLY IN LOS ANGELES, AND WE SOLD TRANSLATION RIGHTS TO JAPAN, AND THEY DID A BEAUTIFUL JOB OF TRANSLATING 'ALLEGIANCE' INTO JAPANESE AND THE LYRICS IN THE SONGS.

AND I THINK IN MANY WAYS THE JAPANESE LYRICS ARE MORE POETIC AND MORE JAPANESE IN FEEL THAN WHAT WE DID ON BROADWAY.

AND IT OPENED IN TOKYO IN APRIL LAST YEAR.

AND WE SO DESPERATELY WANTED TO BE THERE FOR THE OPENING, BUT IT WAS DURING THE PANDEMIC AND THEY WOULD ALLOW US IN ONLY IF WE STAYED IN A HOTEL IN TOKYO AT THOSE PRICES FOR TWO WEEKS AND STAYED THERE IN THAT HOTEL DOING NOTHING OUTSIDE THAT HOTEL.

WE WEREN'T ABOUT TO PAY THAT KIND OF -- WE WOULD HAVE NEVER MISSED IT.

HOWEVER, THERE'S A DISCUSSION GOING ON NOW TO DO 'ALLEGIANCE' IN LONDON.

I'VE SPOKEN AT BOTH OXFORD AND CAMBRIDGE ON THE STORY, AND I THINK THE BRITISH ARE VERY INTERESTED IN THE FALLIBILITY OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY, SO I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO THE LONDON PREMIER OF 'ALLEGIANCE.'

TERRIFIC.

THINK OF A HOLIDAY IN LONDON LATER THIS YEAR OR NEXT YEAR.

SO, GEORGE, UNFORTUNATELY WE ONLY HAVE A COUPLE MINUTES LEFT AND I GOT TO GET THIS IN.

EVERYBODY KNOWS WHO KNOWS YOU THAT YOU'RE A HUGE PRESENCE ON SOCIAL MEDIA, THAT YOU'VE REALLY LEARNED HOW TO WORK IT AND THAT USE IT AS A PLATFORM TO PRESENT YOUR POLITICAL POINTS OF VIEW.

YOU RECENTLY POSTED A LONG THREAD ON TWITTER ABOUT THE THINGS THAT CONCERN YOU ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE COUNTRY RIGHT NOW.

I ONLY HAVE A COUPLE OF MINUTES, AND I'D LIKE TO KNOW WHAT SOME OF THESE THINGS ARE AND WHAT YOU'RE ADVOCATING PEOPLE TO DO ABOUT IT.

WELL, THIS IS VERY RECENT NOW.

THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES EARLY VOTE HAS BEEN LEAKED PUBLICLY, AND IT WAS EARTH SHAKING.

ON ROE VS. WADE, YEAH.

ROE V. WADE.

AND SO IT'S AN UPHEAVAL IN THE POLITICAL ARENA AND ALSO TO OTHER ISSUES BESIDES ABORTION.

IT COULD ALSO AFFECT LOVING, INTERRACIAL MARRIAGE AS WELL AS MARRIAGE EQUALITY FOR LGBTQ PEOPLE.

SO, THE RAMIFICATIONS OF THIS PARTICULARLY WITH THE THREE NEWEST JUSTICES, WHO DURING THEIR SENATE CONFIRMATION HEARING, STATED CLEARLY -- AND WE ALL SAW IT -- THAT ROE V.

WADE IS SETTLED LAW.

THERE IS A PRECEDENT.

AND THAT THEY WILL RESPECT IT.

THEY LIED TO CONGRESS AND TO THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES GOING BY THE VOTE AND THE LEAKED DOCUMENT.

AND SO PEOPLE AREN'T LIKELY TO CHANGE THEIR VOTE, BUT THIS WILL BE A CHALLENGE FOR THOSE THREE TO --

SO, IN 30 SECONDS, WHAT ARE YOU URGING PEOPLE TO DO ABOUT IT?

IN THE 30 SECONDS WE HAVE LEFT.

WELL, LET'S ALL OF US SEND A MESSAGE TO THESE THREE NEWEST JUSTICES AND TO CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS.

THERE WAS A LINE GOING ON.

IT WAS A DESECRATION OF OUR DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM.

AND WE STILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY FOR THEM TO VOTE ACCORDING TO THEIR CONSCIENCE.

OKAY, TO LOBBY.

LET'S SEE IF THAT HAPPENS.

GEORGE, I'M AFRAID WE'RE OUT OF TIME.

WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO END IT THERE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

AS ALWAYS IT'S BEEN A PLEASURE TALKING TO YOU.

THANK YOU FOR INVITING ME TO VISIT.

♪♪

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

©2022 WNET. All Rights Reserved. 825 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10019

WNET is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Tax ID: 26-2810489