Kimi Maru is a former employee of California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) and a Sansei. During World War II, the United States government incarcerated her family in prison camps at Gila River, Tanforan, and Topaz. Maru was born in Oakland, California, in 1956. She grew up in Piedmont, California; attended Laney College; and moved to Los Angeles in 1990, when she began working for CSULA. Maru is also active in the Japanese American community, supporting the redress movement through NCRR (formerly National Coalition for Redress and Reparations), attending pilgrimages, and cultural and political work with Nikkei Progressives. In this interview, Maru discusses growing up in Piedmont, including encountering racism in the community; parents' careers; family traditions and interactions with Japanese American communities around the Bay Area; involvement in the redress movement, including support during the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians; education and work history; connecting children to Japanese American heritage; observations of racial tensions in Los Angeles following the Rodney King verdict; impact of World War II incarceration on her family; incarceration in popular culture; memorialization of incarceration, including pilgrimages to Gila River, Manzanar, and Tule Lake; personal interest in sewing; aunt and textile artist Kay Sekimachi; involvement with Nikkei Progressives; thoughts on intergenerational healing; and reflections on her life and work.




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