Actor and activist George Takei to talk about childhood in internment camp

George Takei

Actor and activist George Takei will present a talk titled “Democracy Lost: George Takei’s Childhood Behind Barbed Wire” at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 18, in the Pauli Murray Head of College House, 100 Sachem St. This event, which is co-sponsored by the Poynter Fellowship in Journalism, is free and open to the public.

Earlier that day, Takei will address guests at the 10th Annual Visionary Leadership Award Luncheon, hosted by the International Festival of Arts & Ideas, where he will be honored for his social justice work and achievements spanning over six decades. The Visionary Leadership Award is presented to a “beloved champion of the arts” in the New Haven community.

The Japanese-American actor, known for his work as the character Hikaru Sulu on the television and film series “Star Trek,” is also a New York Times-bestselling author and a Grammy Award nominee. He utilizes his platform to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, immigrant rights, and racial justice.

Takei spent part of his childhood in U.S. internment camps for Japanese-Americans during World War II. Inspired by his experience in internment camps and this difficult period in American history, Takei developed and starred in the Broadway musical “Allegiance.” He is now a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign.

Takei has acted in over 40 feature films. He has received several awards for his human rights work and activism, including his work with the Japanese American National Museum, the Board of the Japan-United States Friendship Commission under President Bill Clinton, and the U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation board of directors. He is the subject of the documentary “To Be Takei,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014. He published a graphic novel titled “They Called Us Enemy” in 2019, which reflects on Takei’s childhood in internment camps.

The Poynter Fellowship in Journalism was established by Nelson Poynter, who received his master’s degree in 1927 from Yale. The fellowship brings to campus distinguished reporters, editors and others who have made important contributions to the media. Among recent Poynter fellows are Feras Feyyad, Aisyah Llewellyn, and Meera Subramanian. 

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