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I Know We’ll Meet Again: Correspondence and the Forced Dispersal of Japanese Canadians

March 1, 2022 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm


UBC Library and the Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies program in the Faculty of Arts present an online public panel event inspired by the Joan Gillis fonds, a remarkable collection of letters that recount the lives of a group of Japanese Canadian teenagers after their forced dispersal from the coastal regions of British Columbia in 1942.

The Joan Gillis fonds was acquired by UBC Library in 2018 and contains 149 letters and 10 photographs, sent to donor Joan Gillis by a group of young Japanese Canadian friends she met while attending Queen Elizabeth Secondary School in Surrey. These letters, written from farms, work camps, and internment camps in British Columbia, Manitoba, and Alberta after the students were forcibly dispersed from their homes, provide us with a rare glimpse into the lives of young Japanese Canadians during this dark period.

As we acknowledge the 80th anniversary of the forced dispersal, internment, and dispossession of Japanese Canadians from the coastal regions of British Columbia, panel members from the Japanese Canadian community will provide their responses to these letters. Through this event, we invite the UBC community to reflect on the histories, effects, and legacies of this historical injustice. The event will also launch an online exhibit featuring select letters from the Joan Gillis fonds.

This event is sponsored by the UBC Equity Enhancement Fund and the UBC Public Humanities Hub Seed Grant.