AsiaLENS: Norman Mineta and His Legacy: An American Story
From Yihan Zhou
Norman Mineta and His Legacy: An American Story is a film about injustice, redemption, and a burning desire for all people to be treated equally.
Norman Mineta's story follows his experience as a Japanese American inside a U.S. concentration camp during World War II to his triumphant rise to political prominence that shaped every level of government, and made him one of the most influential Asian Americans in the history of our nation. His distinguished career is an unmatched slate of achievements, including 20 years in the United States Congress and eventually serving in the Cabinets of two Presidents from different political parties— Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. A bipartisan visionary who championed political civility, Mineta remains a change maker whose legacy includes a lifelong commitment to social justice.
Norman Mineta and His Legacy: An American Story is presented as part of the Mineta Legacy Project, which offers “What Does It Mean To Be An American?” – a free online educational curriculum developed in collaboration with Stanford’s SPICE program. Mineta’s career is examined here through six modules for high school and college students on Immigration, Civic Engagement, Leadership, Civil Liberties & Equity, Justice & Reconciliation, and U.S. – Japan Relations.
Director/Co-Producer, Dianne Fukami has produced, directed, and written more than a half-dozen documentaries on the Asian-American experience (mostly on Japanese-American history) which were broadcast on PBS stations throughout the U.S. “Separate Lives, Broken Dreams”, about the Chinese Exclusion Act, was nominated for a national Emmy Award; “Starting Over: Japanese Americans After the War” has received scholarly citations for its first-person anecdotes.
Fukami first collaborated with Co-Producer Debra Nakatomi on the documentary “Stories From Tohoku”, a film about the survivors of the 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster in Japan. The film was showcased at CAAMFest in 2014, screened at film festivals in New York and Los Angeles, aired on PBS and has now been presented throughout the U.S. and Japan. Nakatomi is the founder of a strategic communications firm that for over 25 years has developed issue advocacy and educational campaigns on health, environmental, and social issues.