San Jose

Santa Clara County Judge Leads Japanese American Incarceration Memorial Legacy Project

There are 700 signatures on three flags and counting.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Survivors of Japanese internment camps in the United States are aging.

A Santa Clara County judge is working to make sure the people impacted by that dark chapter in our history aren't forgotten.

When those Japanese American citizens were imprisoned in United States prison camps, the U.S. flag was flying over those camps.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Johnny Gogo is traveling the country with those flags giving interned families a chance to sign them.

While Gogo is not Japanese, he's leading the "Japanese American Incarceration Legacy Project."

“As a way to honor their family sacrifice, family hardship, memory of family that is no longer here and resiliency,” he said.

There are 700 signatures on three flags and counting.

Former Bay Area congressman Mike Honda was the first to sign. He was an infant when the United States sent his family to an internment camp.

He said the project is filled with meaning.

“It's a gesture of being victims but also bring supporters of our flag and our country. In spite of the fact that our country made a grave mistake, ”Honda said.

Gogo said some survivors decline to sign. But most of them do.

Often sharing emotional stories about struggle and racism that are relevant today.

“To remind people sometimes history are particularly negative and often repeats itself in terms of racism and hate,” he said.

He plans to donate the signed flags to museums on Fred Korematsu Day. So the people behind the signatures won't be forgotten.

Gogo will be at the Japanese American Museum of San Jose for flag signing Saturday.

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