Susan H. Kamei
During World War II, Susan Kamei’s family members were among the 120,000+ Japanese Americans forcibly removed from their homes and detained in U.S. concentration camps on the basis of race. Told through the stories of survivors, her new book, WHEN CAN WE GO BACK TO AMERICA?: Voices of Japanese American Incarceration During World War II, is an unprecedented account of the frightening reality and enduring tragedy of this dark period in American history. It examines how and why an unconstitutional, racially-based, mass incarceration occurred in a country founded on the principles of justice and freedom. Now more than ever, these stories will resonate as our society grapples with questions about racial identity, immigration, citizenship, and what it means to be an American.
Susan was a member of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) legislative strategy team that won redress for Japanese Americans for their wartime incarceration. Today, she lectures on ‘War, Race and the Constitution’ at the University of Southern California, and is Managing Director of the Spatial Sciences Institute at USC Dornsife.
For her contributions to the USC community and for enriching the educations of students of color and LGBTQ students, she received the 2018 USC Undergraduate Student Government Community Achievement Award. She also was recognized for her leadership and service in business, academia, and the community with the “Woman of Courage” Award in 2000 from the Friends of the Los Angeles City Commission on the Status of Women.
Susan graduated from the University of California, Irvine with B.A. degrees in Russian and Linguistics, summa cum laude, and received her J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center, where she was an editor of the Georgetown law journal Law and Policy in International Business.
Her speaking topics include the constitutional, historical, and political ramifications of the Japanese American incarceration, and how they apply to today’s considerations of national security and the protection of our civil liberties.
WHEN CAN WE GO BACK TO AMERICA is “a landmark book.” – Secretary Norman Y. Mineta
Books, Films & Projects
WHEN CAN WE GO BACK TO AMERICA?: Voices of Japanese American Incarceration During WWII will be available on September 7. In the vein of They Called Us Enemy comes a powerful new book that recounts the experience of Japanese American incarceration during World War II from the perspective of the young people affected. Pre-order.