Searching for Humanity: Stories That Uplift and Inspire; Lessons of the Japanese American Incarceration & the Enduring Friendship of Secretary Norman Mineta & Senator Alan Simpson with Shirley Ann Higuchi and Ray Locker
The presenters will show a film that shows how the two men met as Boy Scouts behind the barbed wire at the Heart Mountain concentration camp for Japanese Americans during World War II and resumed their friendship in Congress to help solve some of the thorniest problems facing our country. Their lives and careers have inspired the creation of the Mineta- Simpson Institute at Heart Mountain, which will preserve their legacy and seek to bring people together. Norm, who was born and raised in San Jose, was incarcerated as a child at Heart Mountain with his family. He later became mayor of San Jose, a Democratic U.S. House member for 20 years and a Cabinet secretary for two presidents — Commerce under Democrat Bill Clinton and Transportation under Republican George W. Bush, who later awarded him the Medal of Freedom. He ordered all aircraft grounded after the 9/11 terror attacks. Al grew up in Cody, where he practiced law, served in the Wyoming legislature and then as a Republican in the U.S. Senate for three terms. He was awarded the Medal of Freedom from Democratic President Joe Biden, a former Senate colleague, in 2022.
Parallel Barbed Wire: From Heart Mountain to Dachau Death March with Adele Setsuko Collier and Shirley Ann Higuchi, moderated by Ray Locker
This segment will show a film about how Clarence Matsumura, an incarceree at the Heart Mountain camp, joined the Army and later came to rescue Solly Ganor, a Jewish worker in a slave labor camp near the Dachau concentration camp, from a death march at the end of World War II. The two men met again in Jerusalem in 1992 and toured the world telling their story of hope and reconciliation before Clarence died of cancer in 1995. Ganor later recounted his experiences in the searing Holocaust memoir — Light One Candle — which has been republished in an updated edition by the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation. Adele will talk of how she traveled to meet Ganor in Tel Aviv in 2019 to deliver a signed scroll by the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation board to thank him for signing over the rights to his memoir. Locker and Higuchi recently republished Light One Candle with an epilogue that described Adele’s inspirational meeting with Solly.
Setsuko’s Secret: The Japanese American Incarceration & Multigenerational Impact Shirley Ann Higuchi, moderated by Ray Locker
Higuchi will recount her experience researching and writing Setsuko’s Secret, especially her awakening about her family’s wartime incarceration and subsequent lives.
Shirley Ann Higuchi is the chair of the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation. A former president of the DC Bar, she is also the author of Setsuko’s Secret: Heart Mountain and the Legacy of the Japanese American Incarceration. She is the inspiration behind the creation of the Mineta-Simpson Institute at Heart Mountain and spearheaded the $8 million fundraising campaign to build the institute. She lectures often about the Japanese American incarceration and the need to use its lessons to encourage Americans to seek common ground and reject extremism.
Adele Setsuko Collier is an investment analyst for Citadel Securities in New York. The daughter of Shirley Ann Higuchi, she was active in securing the publishing rights to Light One Candle, the Holocaust memoir by Solly Ganor. She was named after her grandmother, Setsuko Saito Higuchi, who was one of the leaders of the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation.
Ray Locker is the director of communications and strategy for the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation. A longtime journalist at USA TODAY, the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times, he is the author of two books about the Nixon administration. He is currently at work with Shirley Ann Higuchi on a graphic novel about the lives of Norman Mineta and Alan Simpson.