Susan Kitazawa is a retired nurse and a Sansei. During World War II, the United States government incarcerated her family in prison camps at Manzanar and in Arkansas. Kitazawa was born in upstate New York in 1947. She grew up on the East Coast; attended the University of Pittsburgh and later University of California, San Francisco; and worked as a nurse, including for San Francisco General Hospital and San Francisco Unified School District. Kitazawa is also an artist who writes poetry and works in multimedia. In this interview, Kitazawa discusses growing up in the East Coast in all-white communities, including experiences with housing discrimination and fear of racial violence; family history, including immigration from Japan and maternal grandmother's schizophrenia; early activism and determination to help others; involvement in anti-Vietnam War protests, including feeling used as a "prop"; education and work history; observation of historical events like the redress movement; building a multicultural family; exclusion from San Francisco Japanese American community; the impact of World War II incarceration on her family, including forced removal, her maternal uncle's experience passing as a Native American, and parents' move to the East Coast; meeting resistance to telling incarceration history; memorialization of incarceration, including attending a Manzanar pilgrimage with her father; as well as reflections on forgiveness and healing.




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