by Kaylee Noborikawa, staff writer
|Sanchez discussed multiracial interactions at Global Citizenship
presentations held at the Sea Warrior student center. Each day
he presented three main research topics: “Ethnic Cleansing
L.A. Style,” “Race, Relationships, and High School
Culture,” and “The Tangled Web of Diversity and Democracy:
Civic Engagement in Diverse Communities.”
The theme of these presentations was “crossroads,” which
Sanchez describes as “the interactions across various lines
that keep us separated, such as religion and ethnicity.”
Each session was approximately an hour and a half and all were
open to HPU students, faculty, and staff.
Linda Lierheimer, associate professor of humanities, required
her Humanities 4500 class to attend the seminar. “The theme
of my course is cultural encounters, and ‘Crossroads’ is
very similar to that,” said Lierheimer. “Being in
Hawai‘i, too, gets us to think in a new way about our own
home,” she added.
Sanchez spoke about his personal experiences with students of
different ethnicities and how they interacted with one another.
He focused his 16 years of research on a small area in Los Angeles,
California, called Boyle Heights, during the 1930s. Then, Boyle
Heights was a community of 85,000 people and had a racially mixed
population of Japanese, Jews, Mexicans, Italians, Russians, and
Africans. It was known as a “haven for working people,
and open to all,” said Sanchez. Over the years, he conducted
more than 100 interviews with Boyle Heights residents, researched
high school yearbooks, diaries, and government documents. He
found that “individual groups dominated one block or another,
and everyone lived in their own little ghettos.” The students
and faculty were able to visually experience this type of community
as Sanchez presented segments of the video Crossroads, in which
he and others attempted to “recreate what it was like to
live in a multiracial community.”
There are many stories on the history of individual races, but
the stories about the multiracial communities get lost,” Sanchez
The “Race, Relationships, and High School” session
featured Roosevelt High School, in Boyle Heights, and revealed
that most of the students at Roosevelt did not experience discrimination
and many had friends of different racial backgrounds. When the
bombing of Pearl Harbor occurred, and Japanese-Americans were
forced into internment camps, many of those multi-racial friendships
continued, despite the war around them.
In the “Ethnic Cleansing in L.A. Style” session,
Sanchez detailed an L.A. government repatriation campaign that
lost Boyle Heights one-third of its Mexican population. Sanchez
said that the government has been linked to ethnic cleansing
on three occasions: the Mexican repatriation campaign, the Japanese-Americans
internment, and the forced removal of residents of public housing.
After each lecture, Sanchez made time for open discussions with
the audience. HPU student Melissa Lishman attended the seminar
for her Communication 3000 class. “It was nice to see a
different perspective on how the mainland treats different cultures
compared to Hawai‘i,” she said.
On Saturday, Feb. 11, Sanchez also conducted a workshop on the
Hawai‘i Loa campus lanai.