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Film & Panel on Bygone Japanese American Nurseries Thursday

The El Cerrito Library will host a short film, "Blossoms & Thorns: A Community Uprooted," and a discussion on the Japanese-American nursery community in Richmond and El Cerrito that was sent to remote relocation camps in WWII.

The El Cerrito Library will host a program Thursday night that focuses on the ordeals of local nursery-owning families of Japanese ancestry who were abruptly uprooted from their homes and sent to relocation camps during World War II.

The 7 p.m. event, "Japanese American Nurseries in Richmond," features a screening of "Blossoms & Thorns: A Community Uprooted," a locally made documentary about some of those who lost their livelihoods, and often their property too, under President Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066. 

Members of the local Japanese-American community will be on hand for the discussion after the film, and El Cerrito Historical Society board member Tom Panas will provide a historical overview of the nurseries and the families.

The 18-minute film, directed by Ken Kokka, features interviews with local residents whose immigrant families built the original flower nurseries in Richmond and El Cerrito. The film also contains historical photos of the nurseries and those who operated them.

The program is part of of California Reads in West County. Also part of the series will be University of San Francisco Professor Brian Komei Dempster and four former Japanese American concentration camp internees will sharing their first-person stories at 2 p.m. on Oct. 20 at the Kensington Library.

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