This year marks the 75th anniversary of an executive order that unjustly imprisoned more than 120,000 Japanese-Americans in U.S. internment camps for the duration of World War II following hysteria sparked by the attack on Pearl Harbor.
ABHMS missionaries stood with those imprisoned, ministering to them and providing for their needs. Today, ABHMS reminds all U.S. citizens of the atrocity’s sobering lesson, especially in light of the current racially hostile environment and talk of a Muslim registry in the United States.
“Much of the rhetoric of the past year has echoed far too closely the attitudes that led to the internment of Americans of Japanese descent in the wake of fear and suspicion following the attack on Pearl Harbor,” says the Rev. Dr. Priscilla Eppinger, executive director of American Baptist Historical Society. “In the 1940s, American Baptists were in the forefront of those speaking out for the rights of Japanese-Americans and Japanese immigrants, and ministering to those who were required to leave their homes and businesses. This history is both a cautionary tale and an inspiration in the current climate of fear, hatred and exclusion.”
ABHMS’ Haggray will encourage those in attendance to prevent such injustices from happening again. In his role at ABHMS, Haggray collaborates with diverse national and regional partners to provide a clear vision of Christian mission in today’s world, to cultivate relationships, and to develop resources for transformational ministry with congregations, communities and regions across the United States and Puerto Rico. He has served as regional executive minister in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan region and has pastored congregations in New Jersey; Washington, D.C.; and Georgia.
In addition, the event will feature Seattle native Yosh Nakagawa, who will discuss his experience as a child in a Minidoka, Idaho, internment camp. Nakagawa has worked with the U.S. National Park Service to plan and build the Minidoka Internment National Monument. In addition, he has served the American Baptist family in a variety of ways, including as a staff member of the Asian American Caucus and Ministries for the Evergreen Baptist Association; vice president of American Baptist Churches USA; and as president of American Baptist Churches of the Northwest.
The conference center is at 2930 Flowers Road S, Atlanta, Ga.
The event is free and open to the public.
Founded in 1853, American Baptist Historical Society preserves and shares its collections documenting the influence Baptists have had on religious and civic life. Its six miles of shelving hold the archives of ABHMS, the personal papers of prominent Baptist leaders, original church records, periodicals representing the world-wide Baptist press, national, state and associational published minutes from the vast array of Baptist denominations in the United States, and books and pamphlets that are by, about, for and against Baptists.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.