During my time at CUNY, I organized and co-organized a number of conferences and workshops on topics ranging from Asian American scholarship and teaching at CUNY to literary translation. This work is outlined in greater detail in my CV, but one of the programs I am deeply proud of is a day-long conference I organized at The Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College. Named for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the Institute is housed in the former NYC residence of FDR and his spouse, Eleanor. Lining the walls of the interior are photographs and artifacts documenting FDR's transformative projects, including of course The New Deal, as well as images of Eleanor alongside working-class and poor African Americans. Notably absent are of course Japanese Americans, whose WWII mass incarceration was another FDR project.
The conference I organized, "The Color of Citizenship: Legacies of Japanese Incarceration from WWII to Stop & Frisk," took place on May 2, 2014, and sought to provide a transhistorical and interdisciplinary framework for examining the continued significance of the WWII experience of Japanese Americans by looking at the continued transformation - and distortion - of U.S. civil liberties for people of color. In particular, the conference program aimed to nurture and sustain a cross-racial analysis of how Japanese Americans' WWII incarceration can be one of many lenses to better understand how contemporary domestic race relations are inextricable from U.S. foreign policy, militarism, and the project of empire. It was a remarkable experience to stage this intervention in a space dedicated to the president who oversaw the incarceration of nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans, and to hear speakers such as Amardeep Singh, Tomie Arai, and Norman Mineta underscore the multitude of reasons we must always remember and remind others of this egregious violation of U.S. civil liberties.