2017 "Day of Remembrance" Essay Contest

Each year, the So. Co. JACL invites Sonoma County, Mendocino County and Napa County high school and middle school students to participate in an essay contest to commemorate the Day of Remembrance (DOR), February 19. Executive Order 9066 was initiated on this day which led to the incarceration of over 120,000 American Citizens and those of Japanese ancestry during World War II. The Day of Remembrance is observed annually to remind us of this unfortunate incident in the history of the United States and the need for continued vigilance to avoid such an occurrence in the future.

Every year, a flier with the topic, criteria and deadline are sent to both public and private local schools through the English and Social Studies departments. Cash prizes are awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in both middle and high school.

We encourage students to participate in this essay contest. It is always an inspiration to read how thoughtful and perceptive the students are when they write their essays.

Essay Criteria and Awards:

High School students: Essays should be between 1000 and 1200 words, typewritten - double spaced. Please include a bibliography.
Awards: $400 first prize • $300 second prize • $200 third prize

Middle School students:

Essays should be between 700 and 900 words, typewritten - double spaced. Please include a bibliography.
Awards: $300 first prize • $200 second prize • $150 third prize


2017 Essay Topic:

On February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which forcibly removed people of Japanese ancestry from their homes. The majority of them were con ned in concentration camps from 1942 to 1946. After the camps closed, those incarcerated had to decide where to resettle. Some families returned to their hometowns, but many did not. It was dif cult for children who had not been part of everyday American culture during their time in the camps to transition back.

Research some of the family and personal resettlement stories. What obstacles did they encounter? What assistance was available in resettlement? Write an essay in which you relate a resettlement story that you uncovered in your research. What are some ways you would be able to help a family who had to resettle like Japanese Americans after the war or present-day immigrants and refugees? 

Be sure to provide logical supporting details for your position and include citations.

Please include a cover sheet with the following information:
  • Your Name
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • Email Address
  • Your School
  • Grade Level
  • Your Teacher
Essays without a cover sheet will not be accepted.

Mail Essay to:
Attn: DOR Committee
Sonoma County JACL
515 Petaluma Ave.
Sebastopol, CA 95472


Download this year's flyer with ALL contest information

Resource materials are available at the Sonoma County JACL Library.

For resources and any questions contact: library@sonomacojacl.org