In case you missed our May Meaningful Movie, we watched Our Island’s Treasure. You can still watch this documentary free anytime on the Rise For Henoko website or vimeo. Okinawan-American high school student, Kaiya Yonamine, has filmed and directed a video, Our Island’s Treasure, documenting Okinawa, people’s resistance to the construction and expansion of a U.S. military base in Oura Bay. The ocean landfill work for the base is destroying thousand year old coral reefs and other aquatic life in the bay, including a manatee-like marine animal vulnerable to extinction. This is a tragic waste of our environment & our tax dollars, as well as a threat to racial justice and sovereignty. The people and ocean coral of Okinawa need your help to protect Henoko Bay by supporting their campaign to cancel this military base construction.
At the event, we heard first-hand observations from community leaders Tracy Lai, National Secretary of Asian Pacific Americans Labor Alliance and Vice President for Human Rights, American Federation of Teachers-WA, Stan Shikuma, From Hiroshima to Hope (FHTH), etc. and Kaiya & Moe Yonamine, Filmmaker & NW regional contacts. Co-sponsored by South Seattle Climate Action Network (SSCAN), Asian Pacific Americans Labor Alliance (APALA), Renton and West Seattle Meaningful Movies, and Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action (PSARA) Find out more about how you can help prevent this tragic waste of resources and protect our oceans at the “Rise For Henoko” website which includes the free documentary, news stories, and resources for action such as ways to contact your legislators and a petition. Go to: https://www.riseforhenoko.com/
One important way to take action is to write letters to our legislators. See below for a letter from Mt Baker Meaningful Movies team member, Judith Yarrow.
Dear Senator Cantwell, Senator Murray and Congressman Smith,
I urge you to oppose the construction of any further U.S. military bases in Okinawa, Japan, in particular the Marine base currently proposed in Oura Bay. I support the people of Okinawa who overwhelmingly oppose this environmentally disastrous project. Twice they have elected governors who called for the removal of the base. Thousands demonstrate regularly against the base at the site.
This U.S. military base will devastate the Oura Bay, which is home to one of the most biodiverse ocean areas on the planet. Millions of tons of soil and sand will be dumped into the Bay, which contains sensitive mangrove forests, tidelands, seagrass beds, and coral reefs. It is a habitat for more than 5,300 species, 262 of which are endangered, including critically endangered dugongs and recently discovered large colonies of blue coral. Harmful impacts are already being felt just from the preparatory activities.
Okinawa’s main island is only 70 miles long and an average of 7 miles wide. Yet is has 32 military bases. Imagine the area from Shoreline to Olympia with 32 large military bases! The US has occupied the tiny island of Okinawa for 73 years, with related environmental destruction, air and noise pollution, and exposed war survivors and families constantly to the sights and sounds of war. The addition of another base, particularly in the environmentally and geologically critical area of Oura Bay is both unnecessary and unconscionable. I oppose it as a US citizen.
I ask that you as my representatives publicly oppose the construction of the military base in Henoko, Okinawa, and use your power in Congress to stop the construction of the base. I look forward to your response.