Shelly Okura Joins Freedom Film Series’ American Pastime Panel
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CINCINNATI, OH (May 3, 2016) — The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Film Commission announced today that Shelly Okura, whose family was interned in the Rohwer War Relocation Center during WWII, will join the Freedom Film Series’ American Pastime panel this Wednesday. American Pastime, the fourth film in the Freedom Film Series, is a compelling drama directed Desmond Nakano and set in the Topaz War Relocation Center that interned thousands of Japanese Americans during WWII. The screening of the film this Wednesday, May 4 at 6:30 p.m. is free and open to the public. A welcome reception will be held in the Grand Hall at 5:30 p.m. The Freedom Film Series is sponsored by Chubb Group of Insurance Companies.
The Okura family is from Lodi, CA, just an hour’s drive south from Sacramento. When President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 in February of 1945 authorizing the internment of hundreds of thousands of Japanese Americans, Okura’s family was forced to leave their belongings with a neighbor and sent to the Rohwer War Relocation Center located in Rohwer, Arkansas. Following their internment, the Okura family relocated to Cincinnati where her father worked as an accountant for GE.
“Dad participated in the Cincinnati Goes to War exhibit because he wanted to share his experience and make sure this would not happen to future generations,” says Okura of her family’s experience. “We are so honored that he has inspired others.”
The camp where the Okura family was interned was in operation from September 18, 1942 until November 30, 1945 and in 1992, the site was declared a National Historic Landmark.
Following the American Pastime screening, Okura will participate in a panel discussion and Q&A with the producer of the film Barry Rosenbush; author, filmmaker, producer and historian, Kerry Yo Nakagawa; and local artist Chris Felix.
The Freedom Film Series presents American Pastime Wednesday, May 4 at 6:30 p.m. in the Harriet Tubman Theater. The screening is free and open to the public. A welcome reception will be held in the Grand Hall at 5:30 p.m. The Freedom Film Series is sponsored by Chubb Group of Insurance Companies. For more information and to RSVP, visit freedomcenter.org.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL UNDERGROUND RAILROAD FREEDOM CENTER
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in August 2004 on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, more than 1.3 million people have visited its permanent and changing exhibits and public programs, inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom. Two million people have utilized educational resources online at freedomcenter.org, working to connect the lessons of the Underground Railroad to inform and inspire today’s global and local fight for freedom. Partnerships include Historians Against Slavery, Polaris Project, Free the Slaves, US Department of State and International Justice Mission. In 2014, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center launched a new online resource in the fight against modern slavery, endslaverynow.org.