What is Tsuru for Solidarity?
In March 2019, a group of Japanese American and Japanese Latin American WWII concentration camp survivors and descendants organized a pilgrimage to the former site of the Crystal City Internment Camp in South Texas where survivors had been indefinitely imprisoned as children, separated from their fathers. This family reunification prison camp was run by the Department of Justice. Japanese and Japanese American prisoners, together with Japanese Latin Americans who had been kidnapped and brought to the U.S., were to fill the numbers to meet the quota for a massive hostage exchange agreement with Japan.
Organizers couldn’t ignore the fact that just 40 miles east of the Crystal City site, on the very same highway, history was being repeated again. Hundreds of mothers and children seeking asylum from Central America were being held at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, criminalized by anti-immigrant racist policies resulting in family separation, indefinite detention, and deportation. Pilgrimage organizers felt compelled to stand in solidarity with the imprisoned families.
The Texas Dilley Protest was supported by Grassroots Leadership in partnership with numerous Japanese American civil liberties groups, community leaders and allied organizations. A call was issued for people to fold 10,000 origami cranes to be hung on the fences surrounding the Dilley detention center. The crane is a unique symbol in Japanese culture for transformation, healing, and nonviolence. By the time of the protest, we received 30,000 origami cranes from around the world. Hung on the fences at the protest, these cranes, folded with messages of solidarity, hope, and love, came from temples, churches, libraries, union halls, community centers, schools, and even prisoners at San Quentin State Prison. Taiko drummers from across the country joined the protest and thundered at the fence, a message of solidarity and hope to the people imprisoned inside.
Tsuru for Solidarity is now an independent project working to end detention sites and support directly impacted immigrant and refugee communities targeted by racism, state violence, injustice and oppression in the United States. Learn more about our organization’s history of actions in the timeline at the bottom of the page.
“No Ban, No Wall, No Camps, No-No!”
Our MissionTsuru for Solidarity is a nonviolent, direct action project of Japanese American social justice advocates and allies working to end detention sites and support directly impacted immigrant and refugee communities that are being targeted by racist, inhumane immigration policies. We stand on the moral authority of Japanese Americans who suffered the atrocities and legacy of U.S. concentration camps during WWII and we say, “Stop Repeating History!”
Never Again is NOW. Our mission is to:
- educate, advocate, and protest to close all U.S. concentration camps;
- build solidarity with other communities of color that have experienced forced removal, detention, deportation, separation of families, and other forms of racial and state violence;
- coordinate intergenerational, cross-community healing circles addressing the trauma of our shared histories.
Our Path Forward
Dilley, Laredo, Austin, Texas
As part of a pilgrimage to Crystal City, a Department of Justice camp during World War II for Japanese and Japanese Americans, we protested outside of the Dilley, Texas Detention Center
Watch a short documentary on our action here.
Fort Sill, Oklahoma
Following the announcement of plans to incarcerate 1,400 immigrant children at Fort Sill, Tsuru for Solidarity traveled to Fort Sill and protested with AIM Indian Territory, Black Lives Matter – OKC, ACLU Oklahoma and other organizations on the ground. Read more>>
Close the Camps Protest at Fort Sill
In July, we returned to Fort Sill in solidarity with United We Dream and other organizations to #CloseTheCamps — read about it here.
Butterfly Effect Youth Rally – Oakland, CA
Tsuru for Solidarity joined The Butterfly Effect: Migration is Beautiful Project for a youth-led rally in Oakland, where members spoke in solidarity with children in detention.
Stop the Nakamoto Group’s Contract with ICE petition with 18 Million Rising, Rockville, MD
Oshogatsu Protest at Yuba County Jail, Marysville, CA
In collaboration with other community organizations, we brought in the New Year in protest outside of Yuba County Jail–click here for photos and reflections.
More in the news: AsAm News | Japanese American WWII camp survivors, allies hold coalition protest at ICE-contracted Yuba County Jail January 11, 2020
Univision Sacramento | Activistas exigieron que la cárcel del Condado Yuba sea utilizada como centro de detención de inmigrantes January 12, 2020
Day of Remembrance Day of Action, Northwest Detention Center, Tacoma Washington
Read about Tsuru for Solidarity’s action with La Resistencia outside of Northwest Detention Center here.
More in the news: KNKX | Crowd remembers Japanese incarceration at immigrant detention center in Tacoma February 24, 2020
Goal of 125,000 tsuru reached
Find out more about how we are continuing our tsuru folding project
Tsuru Rising! Virtual Protest to Close the Camps
A weekend of solidarity, community, and action:
East Wind | Tsuru for Solidarity’s Nationwide Rallies June 8
Pacific Citizen | Tsuru for Solidarity Rallies Activists Across the Country June 26, 2020
“No More Camps” skywriting action over Santa Anita as part of In Plain Sight
Over the July 4th weekend, 80 artists, including Karen Ishizuka of Tsuru for Solidarity, joined together to launch XMAP: In Plain Sight – a stunning effort to make visible the injustices of the largest immigration detention system in the world. Read more here and in the news:
Los Angeles Times | 80 Artists will Mark Fourth of July with Skytyped Messages Over U.S. Detention Centers July 3, 2020
Hypebeast | 80 Artists are Launching Aerial Demonstrations Over Detention Centers Nationwide July 3, 2020
Rally to Shut Down Berks Detention Center
Tsuru for Solidarity members from Washington, D.C., New York, and Philadelphia traveled to protest in front of Berks County Detention Center as part of the Shut Down Berks Coalition’s July 17th day of protest. Read more at our blog>>
And in the news: Pacific Citizen | Transformative Solidarity
July 25, 2020
July 2020, Tsuru Rising! Community Conversations launches
Session 1, Japanese American Identity and Intergenerational Trauma, a conversation with Dr. Donna Nagata, psychologist and scholar, and Dr. Satuski Ina, Co-organizer, Tsuru for Solidarity, moderated by Brian Niiya, Content Director, Densho.
August 1, 2020
Funeral and Die-in at Governor Wolf’s home to Free Black Families at Berks
With the Shut Down Berks Coalition, Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees, Free Migration Project, and CASA, Tsuru for Solidarity protest in front of Governor Tom Wolf’s home.