Gila River and Mama and the President of The United States

On October 21, 2012 Gila River and Mama was screened at the Palo Alto Buddhist Temple in Palo Alto, California. There was a lot of activity and emotion that day, which included a Skype conversation between Claire and a woman who had been a student of Frida’s (Claire’s grandmother) at the Gila River camp. Many people stayed after the event to pick up copies of the DVD and book, and to chat with Charles Class of Class Productions and via Skype with Claire.

On the day after the screening one of the attendees, Yaeko Hirotsuka, sent a copy of both the Gila River and Mama DVD and the book The Girl With Hair Like The Sun to the President and Mrs. Obama, along with a letter which stated, in part ….

“I’ve enclosed an autographed copy of the book and DVD by Claire Mix and hope you and Mrs. Obama will view and share it with Sasha and Mailia when they’re of an age you think is appropriate. I had the privilege of attending a viewing at our church, the Palo Alto Buddhist Temple this afternoon. I was so moved by the DVD, I had to purchase it for you to see.”

Earlier this year Ms. Hirotsuka received a reply.


Dear Yaeko:
Thank you for your kind gifts and for taking the time to share your story with us.

The internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II was a dark chapter in our history, an injustice that violated the very principles we were fighting to preserve. Today, our Nation honors the men and women who, in the face of discrimination and adversity, held fast to their belief that America could one day achieve its founding ideals-freedom, equality, and justice for all.

Thank you, again, for your gifts. We wish you all the best.

The letter was signed by Barack Obama and Michelle Obama.

Ms. Hirotsuka contacted Class Productions in early June and, even though we did not yet have a copy of the letter in hand, we were able to share this information with Claire that night. She was extremely grateful to learn how moved Ms. Hirotsuka had been by the DVD, and thrilled that the President and Mrs. Obama had received a copy of both the book and DVD. Over the next day or two arrangement were made to obtain a copy of the letters to show Claire. Unfortunately, she was no longer in a condition which allowed her to read them by the time they arrived.

Claire knew that Yaeko’s actions were now a part of the story of her mother and grandmother, and wanted to make sure that it was shared with everyone. And she was just ever so slightly proud to know that her work had made it all the way to Washington.

Claire Mix transitioned peacefully from this life on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 9:35pm.

Photos from the Palo Alto Buddhist Temple screening, Oct 21, 2012.

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