Jewish Museum Milwaukee
Press Release

Yabuki Family Foundation Provides Free Admissions to Exhibit Highlighting the Internment of Japanese Americans During World War II

Jewish Museum Milwaukee to present Then They Came for Me in February

By - Jan 5th, 2022 11:27 am

MILWAUKEE, WI – Jan. 5, 2022 – Jewish Museum Milwaukee (JMM) today announced the Yabuki Family Foundation as presenting sponsor for its next exhibit, Then They Came for Me. The Foundation’s gift also allows for free admission during the exhibit’s run. Opening in February, Then They Came for Me tells the story of the forced removal of 120,000 Japanese American citizens and legal residents from their homes during World War II without due process or other constitutional protections. Through an exploration of art, artifacts and programming Then They Came for Me reflects distressing parallels between this dark chapter in America’s past and current discrimination and intolerance surrounding the immigration and refugee crisis in America and around the world.

“We are proud to partner with Jewish Museum Milwaukee to provide a platform for the Milwaukee community to learn more about this important part of our country’s history,” said Jeff Yabuki, president of the Yabuki Family Foundation. “As a Japanese-American whose family was personally touched by this, we are pleased to support education and an open dialogue on tolerance and equity for all.”

Yabuki has a personal connection to the exhibit’s content through his father. George Yabuki and his family were removed from their home, separated and interned in camps in both Washington and North Dakota from 1942 to 1946. Subsequently, George – who was born in the United States –served in the U.S. Army and fought during the Korean War.

Then They Came For Me: Incarceration of Japanese Americans During WWII and the Demise of Civil Liberties will run Feb. 18–May 29, 2022. The accounts in this multimedia exhibit illustrate the impact this terrifying period in U.S. history had on those who experienced it firsthand and the lasting repercussions on the generations that followed. It features imagery by noted American photographers Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams, alongside works by incarcerated Japanese American artist Toyo Miyatake and artifacts from the Chicago-based Japanese American Committee collection.

“We’ve never had the opportunity to offer free admission to an exhibit before,” said Patti Sherman-Cisler, JMM executive director. “Because of the generosity of the Yabuki Family Foundation we’re able to share this important message with the entire community.”

Then They Came for Me was originated in Chicago by the Alphawood Foundation with the support and cooperation of the Japanese American Service Committee of Chicago. It also appeared in modified form at the International Center of Photography in New York and at the Presidio, San Francisco, made possible there through the generosity of the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation of Oakland, California. Jewish Museum Milwaukee’s presentation of Then They Came for Me represents an abridged and modified version of the original exhibition.

More information about the exhibit is available at www.jewishmuseummilwaukee.org. The free admission covers both the exhibit and the general Museum. Connect with Jewish Museum Milwaukee on Facebook and Instagram @JewishMuseumMilwaukee and on Twitter @JewishMuseumMKE.

About the Jewish Museum Milwaukee

The Jewish Museum Milwaukee is dedicated to preserving and presenting the history of the Jewish people in southeastern Wisconsin and celebrating the continuum of Jewish heritage and culture. The history of American Jews is rooted in thousands of years of searching for freedom and equality. The museum builds bridges between diverse groups of people through shared difficult histories and uses historical events and art to explore contemporary topics.

Funded in part by a grant from Wisconsin Humanities, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the State of Wisconsin. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Wisconsin Humanities strengthens the roots of community life through educational and cultural programs that inspire civic participation and individual imagination.

About the Yabuki Family Foundation

The purpose of The Yabuki Family Foundation is to have a positive impact across communities with a focus on enabling people to be their best. Its primary causes include Families and Education, access and support of the Arts, and advancing causes which enhance Social Justice.

The Foundation is taking a transformational leadership role in the fight to reduce and eliminate depression, anxiety and other mental and emotional issues, many of which begin in childhood.

The Foundation was established in 1999.

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