George Takei Virtual Captive Huntington Beach Reads The Crowd
George Takei started Monday’s virtual question-and-answer session with a little joke.
Takei put his fingers together in the ‘Long live and prosper’ sign, known as the Vulcan salute, before nodding at the coronavirus pandemic.
“Live long and thrive,” Takei said, before bringing his hand closer to the screen. “And in this quarantine, go back, back, back!”
Takei engaged throughout the 70-minute session, moderated by Huntington Beach is reading a book (HB Reads) in partnership with Huntington Beach Union High School District Libraries.
The actor, better known as Sulu in the original “Star Trek” television series, became a social justice activist as he grew older. Now 84, he released “They called us enemies” an autobiographical graphic novel, in 2019.
The book, which was selected by HB Reads as its 2021 Book Pick, tells the story of Takei and her family in a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II. It was co-written by Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott, with art by Harmony Becker.
“We were not the enemy,” Takei said Monday. “We were Americans. I was born here, just like my mother. My father grew up in the United States, in San Francisco, but he was born in Japan. The government behaved in an absolutely irrational way, and it wasn’t until I was a teenager that my father was able to explain to me why this cruel and irrational imprisonment happened.
Hundreds of people attended the question-and-answer session, hosted via Zoom and moderated by Jen Cullen Williams, Huntington Beach resident and communications consultant. It was also organized as part of United States of America and the Pacific Islands Heritage Month, which is celebrated every May.
Takei was 5 years old when then President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered people of Japanese descent on the West Coast to be arrested and sent to one of 10 “resettlement centers”. He and his family were ordered to leave their two bedroom home in Los Angeles at gunpoint, he said. They were first sent to Santa Anita Park in Arcadia before being shipped to Arkansas and finally to the Tule Lake Relocation Center in Northern California, where they remained before being released in 1946.
He previously published his autobiography “To The Stars” in 1994, but decided to delve deeper into his childhood imprisonment, he said. Her family history is also covered extensively in the Broadway musical “Allegiance,” which Takei starred in her debut in 2015.
“I decided I wanted another way to reach a readership of young people, tweens and teens, because they are the ones who are going to be the voters of tomorrow and, hopefully, the players in the movement,” Takei said. . “When I was a teenager I loved comics. I was addicted to them. At this age, you are absorbing information through your pores. I thought that was the way to achieve them, as graphics memory.
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