April Parker – 2007 – ©2018

1. She was second-born, of seven sturdy children
In the Great Central Valley, in the California sun
Her first name was in English, middle name in Japanese
Tried to blend in with her class, she tried to please
Her parents dreamed that one day they’d go back to the old country
We know now - that was never meant to be

2. She was just eighteen when they heard about Pearl Harbor
Such fear and confusion, for the whole world was at war
Papa felt so torn – when told to pledge allegiance
He asked his children, “Shall we stay or flee?”
His children felt quite clearly – they knew where they belonged
They knew the truth – although their rights were wronged

(They said…) Papa, we were born here – this is the only life we’ve ever known
Papa, we’re Americans – don’t take us from our home

3. She was just 19 – when her family was imprisoned
In the desert land of Utah – they tried to make a home
After the war they returned to the valley
She grew up and wed, and raised a family
Though my daughter never met her, she died the year ‘fore Claire was born
I tell her stories, show her pictures that are worn


This song was based on the story that my mom told me, about her family’s experience of being sent to internment camps during WW2. I wrote it for my daughter and I to sing at her school, on the 65th anniversary of the Executive Order which directed Japanese American citizens and their parents to prison camps in the US. It still has relevance today, and is dedicated to the “Dreamers” (children brought to the US by their parents) who are facing deportation.