Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01



Then They Came for Me, Alphawood Gallery exhibit, looks at racism and xenophobia
From a press release

This article shared 426 times since Tue Jun 6, 2017
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

( June 5, 2017 ) What does an American look like? Who is welcome in this country? What is every American's duty in the face of racist government action? These and other important questions are posed by Alphawood Gallery's first original exhibition, Then They Came for Me: Incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII and the Demise of Civil Liberties, debuting Thursday, June 29 and continuing through November 19, 2017. Then They Came for Me at the Alphawood Gallery ( 2401 North Halsted Street, Chicago ) is free and open to the public.

Then They Came for Me examines a dark episode in U.S. history when, in the name of national security, the government incarcerated 120,000 citizens and legal residents during World War II without due process or other constitutional protections to which they were entitled. Executive Order 9066, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, set in motion the forced removal and imprisonment of all people of Japanese ancestry ( citizens and non-citizens alike ) living on or near the West Coast. During this 75th anniversary year of Executive Order 9066, we look back at this shameful past to learn lessons for our present and future in the face of new challenges created by fearmongering and racism at the highest levels of government.

Then They Came for Me is steeped in Chicago history. Thousands of previously incarcerated persons resettled here after release from the camps, and they built a vibrant and rich Japanese American community in the Chicago area that lives on today. This Chicago story forms an important part of the exhibition and its message. Alphawood Gallery has partnered with the Japanese American Service Committee ( JASC ) and members of Chicago's Japanese American community to produce Then They Came for Me. This important and timely exhibition will employ a wide range of photography, video, art and historical artifacts to provide multiple perspectives, engaging visitors in critical discussions of this story of injustice and its profound relevance today.

Alphawood Gallery is supported by the Alphawood Foundation. It was created to bring exhibitions to Chicago that further the Foundation's mission of promoting a more equitable, just and humane society.

"A difficult but important part of our mission is shining a light on great injustice, inhumanity and unfairness when it happens in our own country. By understanding how this could have happened only 75 years ago, we hope to promote a more fair and just America today. The lessons that we take from this history will help us counter the hatred and xenophobia being peddled in the name of national security and patriotism," said Jim McDonough, Executive Director, Alphawood Foundation. "The title of the exhibition, Then They Came for Me, acknowledges the terrible truth that this could happen to any group, to any one of us. And if we don't stand up for our neighbors when they are threatened in this way, who will stand up for us?"

Added Michael Takada, CEO of the Japanese American Service Committee, "We at the JASC and within the broader Japanese American community are proud to be a part of such a timely and important exhibit. Through our JASC Legacy Center archives, we have been entrusted with preserving and promoting the lessons learned through the experience of wartime incarceration and resettlement. For the Japanese American community, having seen what can happen when racism, xenophobia, wartime hysteria, and a lack of political leadership are allowed to flourish, we hope to continue to help spread the message that each new generation must challenge itself to guard our civil liberties and human rights, and to not take them for granted."


Then They Came for Me draws largely upon 100 powerful images culled from the recently published book Un-American ( CityFiles Press ) by Chicago-based photography historians Richard Cahan and Michael Williams. Forming the core of the exhibition's incarceration narrative will be these works by renowned American photographers Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams and others documenting the eviction of Japanese Americans and permanent Japanese residents from their homes and their subsequent lives in incarceration camps. Adams, Lange and others were hired by the U.S. Government's War Relocation Authority to document the "evacuation" and "internment" of Japanese Americans along the West Coast. Lange left the program after three months, and some of her photographs, which revealed her growing unease with the circumstances she encountered, were impounded by the military for the duration of the war.

Alongside the photographs will be a rich trove of documents, diaries, art, other photographs and archival materials—the majority generously lent by JASC's Legacy Center and rarely seen in public. Video and visual art complementing the experience includes regular screenings of the film And Then They Came for Us, a moving new look at this issue by noted documentarians Abby Ginzberg and Ken Schneider. ( The film has its Chicago Premiere at the Gene Siskel Film Center ( 164 North State Street ) Monday, June 26, at 7pm; for more information, please visit ) .


Following the model of Alphawood Gallery's successful presentation of Art AIDS America, which offered more than 120 programs with partners across the city, Then They Came for Me will include a robust series of programs both on and off-site to encourage and expand conversations on related contemporary issues. On its opening night ( Thursday, June 29 ), Alphawood Gallery will conduct a "Know Your Rights" training by Art Now, Act Now in association with local social justice organizations. Weekly public exhibition tours will begin Saturday, July 1 at 1pm, and will take place every Wednesday and Saturday at 1pm, and every Thursday at 6:30pm. A Take Action space at Alphawood Gallery will be dedicated to advocacy and will feature programming, resources and materials from partner organizations. Visitors will be invited to participate in an oral history project, to which they can contribute their personal stories relating to the incarceration and resettlement. Many additional public programs at the Gallery are in development, including performances by Tatsu Aoki; a panel entitled Rightlessness: From Japanese Incarceration to the Muslim Ban led by American Studies scholar Dr. Naomi Paik ( UIUC ); a reading of Chay Yew's original play "Question 27, Question 28" ( presented by Victory Gardens Theater ); a performance of Home/Land by the Albany Park Theater Project; a special edition of the Neo-Futurists' Infinite Wrench; an Anti-Workshop led by performance artist Karen Finley; film screenings including Far East of Eden, Rabbit in the Moon, Looking for Jiro, Skate Manzanar and more.

Additional public programs and events ( to be announced shortly ) will address the impacts of Executive Order 9066 that are still felt throughout Japanese American communities and beyond, and provocatively explore vital questions about citizenship, immigration, racial discrimination, profiling, economic disparity, detainment, civil liberties, equality, activism and more.


Alphawood Foundation Chicago is a grant-making private foundation working for an equitable, just and humane society. It awards grants to more than 200 organizations annually, primarily in the areas of the arts and arts education, advocacy, architecture and preservation, domestic violence prevention, the environment, promotion and protection of the rights of LGBT citizens and people living with HIV/AIDS, and other human and civil rights.


Alphawood Gallery was created by Alphawood Foundation Chicago to serve as a venue for exhibitions furthering the Foundation's charitable mission. The 12,000-square-foot space first served this purpose for the Chicago presentation of the groundbreaking national touring exhibition, Art AIDS America, which was on display from December 1, 2016 to April 2, 2017. Alphawood Gallery is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11am-8pm, and Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11am-6pm. Admission to Alphawood Gallery is free and open to the public.

The Gallery is conveniently located at 2401 North Halsted Street in Chicago near the CTA Fullerton 'L' stop, as well as several CTA bus routes. Limited free parking is available in an adjacent parking lot, along with more plentiful metered street parking and garage parking nearby.

For more information and updates on Then They Came for Me, please visit us at as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram .

This article shared 426 times since Tue Jun 6, 2017
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

ART The Peninsula hosting installation by Bob Faust
The Peninsula Chicago, 108 E. Superior St., an art installation featuring Chicago artist Bob Faust—half of a power couple of the art world, with Nick Cave. Titled "with all, and still…," this exhibit debuted mid-September and ...

Gay News

Chicago's holiday cultural and arts events to reopen for in-person
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) today announced DCASE fall and holiday programming as Chicago's vital arts scene continues to safely and fully reopen. In-person holiday ...

Gay News

Art Institute workers forming union
With backing for a majority of employees, organizers at the Art Institute of Chicago announced they are asking the museum to voluntarily recognize the first labor union at the cultural institution, The Chicago Tribune reported. The ...

Gay News

Few LGBTQ nods from the Emmys even as RuPaul makes TV history
Netflix's The Crown and Apple TV+'s Ted Lasso were among the big winners as the Television Academy presented its 2021 Emmy Awards on Sept. 19 in Los Angeles. While the Academy had drawn praise for the ...

Gay News

Equality Illinois 'deeply troubled' by investigation into pro-LGBTQ teacher
Equality Illinois issued a press release stating it is "deeply troubled" after a DuPage County teacher is being investigated for posts about LGBTQ history and racial justice. The videos, which were reposted to Twitter in early ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Carl Bean dies, LGBT History Month, military events, Dykes on Bikes
Archbishop Carl Bean—an openly gay former Motown singer, longtime AIDS activist and leader in the LGBTQ church movement—died at age 77, The New York Daily News reported. In a statement entitled "The Giant Sleeps," the Unity ...

Gay News

Affirming Powerhouse Church establishes permanent home in Chicago
Powerhouse Church has come a long way in a decade. Out Pastor Keith McQueen recently told Windy City Times about the church's history. "We actually started in Indianapolis in 2012, and after a series of supernatural ...

Gay News

8th Annual Black Alphabet Film Festival on Nov. 5-7
The 8th Annual Black Alphabet Film Festival (BAFF) will take place Nov. 5-7 at the University of Chicago's Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. One of the longest running Black ...

Gay News

Polis marriage marks first same-sex wedding of sitting governor
On Sept. 15, Colorado Democratic Gov. Jared Polis wed longtime partner Marlon Reis—marking the first same-sex marriage of a sitting U.S. governor, NPR reported. Polis keeps making history. In 2018, Polis became the first openly gay ...

Gay News

Chicago Dance History Project moving to Ruth Page Center
Chicago Dance History Project (CDHP)—which investigates, documents and presents the individual and institutional past of Chicago dance—plans to move into The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St., as an artist in residence. ...

Gay News

ARCHITECTURE Thompson Center Idea Competition winners named
The Chicago Architecture Center and the Chicago Architectural Club announced the jury's selection of three winning designs for the Thompson Center Design Ideas Competition that represent three distinct, creative visions for the State of Illinois Thomp ...

Gay News

CAIC announces 2021 Collaborative Works Festival, immigration, migration in song
--From a press release - CHICAGO— Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago (CAIC) begins its eleventh anniversary season with its annual Collaborative Works Festival, held in venues around Chicago from October 6—9, 2021. The 2021 Collaborative ...

Gay News

TELEVISION 'Drag Race,' 'Queer Eye,' 'Pose' among Creative Emmy winners
Three 2021 Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremonies took place Sept. 11-12—and Netflix's The Queen's Gambit led the way with nine wins going into next weekend's Primetime Emmys, Deadline reported. LGBTQ+ individuals and shows also scored se ...

Gay News

Lightfoot attends 'Parade of Hearts' public-art installation series launch
--From a press release - CHICAGO (September 8, 2021) — The Love, Unity & Values (LUV) Institute, a Chicago non-profit, unveiled a new series of neighborhood art installations Sept. 8 to launch the Parade of Hearts, an initiative to commemorate the ...

Gay News

WNBA names 25 greatest players in history
On Sept. 5, the WNBA commemorated its landmark 25th season by announcing the selection of "The W25"—a collection of the 25 greatest and most influential players in WNBA history, according to a press release. The unveiling ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.