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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 said.

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.
 

 

 

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