Secret Harvests

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A family separated by racism against Japanese Americans and the discrimination of people with developmental disabilities—reunited seventy years later, returning to their roots on a farm and bound by family secrets.

I discover a "lost" aunt, separated from ourfamily due to racism and discrimination against the disabled. She had a mentaldisability due to childhood meningitis. She was taken away in 1942 when allJapanese Americans were considered the enemy and imprisoned. She then became a"ward" of the state. We believed she had died, but 70 years laterfound her alive and living a few miles from our family farm. How did she survive?Why was she kept hidden?

How did both shame and resilience empower my family toforge forward in a land that did not want them? I am haunted and driven toexplore my identity and the meaning of family—especially as farmers tied to theland. I uncover family secrets that bind us to a sense of history buried in theearth that we work and a sense of place that defines us.