HYDE PARK, N.Y. -- Long before taking on the role of Captain Hikaru Sulu in “Star Trek” and decades before crafting a ubiquitous social media presence, actor George Takei was a prisoner on American soil.
He was a 5-year-old child in 1942 when he and his family were taken from their California home and placed in an internment camp. The Takei family was but a handful of roughly 120,000 Japanese Americans imprisoned after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The 79-year-old actor and human rights advocate spoke of his experiences as a young child of Japanese ancestry during a talk Sunday at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, before the opening of the library’s new exhibit, “Images of Internment: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.”
Some of the experiences he detailed include the morning he learned that Roosevelt had signed executive order 9066, which allowed the government to intern Japanese Americans, according to the Journal, which reported that Takei then discussed his family's forced transportation to a camp and the "degrading, painful conditions" present there.
While speaking about the events of more than 70 years ago, Takei peppered his remarks with allusions to today’s political environment, specifically linking Roosevelt's executive order to the recent attempt by President Donald Trump to sign an executive order banning people from seven majority Muslim countries from entering the United States, according to the Journal.