Jean Hibino is a Sansei who serves as Executive Secretary of the Nisei Student Relocation Commemorative Fund (NSRCF), a scholarship fund that her Nisei parents co-founded in 1980. Hibino was born in 1951 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and grew up in Portland, Connecticut. She attended Northwestern University and the University of New Mexico before graduating from UC Berkeley in 1974. Both her parents also attended UC Berkeley prior to World War II, upon which they and their families were forcibly removed from their homes and incarcerated without due process by the US government in mass detention camps in San Bruno, California and Topaz, Utah. The Quaker-led National Japanese American Student Relocation Council (NJASRC) helped Hibino's parents leave Topaz to continue their educations, and they eventually settled on the East Coast. Hibino moved to San Francisco in 1977 where she was involved in the Committee Against Nihonmachi Eviction (CANE), later called the Japanese Community Progressive Alliance (JCPA), fighting against the redevelopment of Japantown. She joined a revolutionary organization called I Wor Kuen (IWK) which merged with other groups to form the League of Revolutionary Struggle (Marxist-Leninist). Hibino returned to the East Coast with her husband and daughter in the early 1990s. She joined her own mother on the NSRCF board, annually awarding scholarships to underserved communities throughout the US in honor of its namesake, the NJASRC. Her daughter also serves on the board, the third generation to do so. After retiring from legal secretary and paralegal work, Hibino’s interest in civil rights and Black history took her to Montgomery, Alabama in 2018 where she volunteered with the Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice and with Organize Alabama. She currently resides in New Mexico. In this oral history, Hibino discusses all the above, including her family's experiences before, during, and after their wartime incarceration, her own journey to find empowerment in her Japanese American identity, her political activism, her longtime support for the Topaz Museum in Delta, Utah, and life experiences in the numerous locations she has called home.




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