George Takei

George Takei

“Star Trek” star George Takei is coming to Roanoke in May at the city’s invitation. The City of Roanoke and Local Colors are hosting “An Evening with George Takei — “On Inclusion and Diversity” —  May 4th.  A free public event at a yet-to-be-determined venue will focus on the acceptance of immigrants and refugees and to warn against systemic racism. Chris Morrill is the Roanoke City manager:

2-4 Morrill-Takei for Web-WEB

Takei was critical of Mayor David Bowers in November after Bowers released a statement citing the mass detention of Japanese-Americans during World War II in order to deny Syrian refugees the chance to resettle in the Roanoke Valley. Takei, who was one of 120,000 people of Asian descent put in internment camps in the wake of 1940s-era prejudice, took issue with  Bowers’ grasp of history. “There was no threat. We loved America. We were decent, honest, hard-working folks. Tens of thousands of lives were ruined, over nothing,” Takei wrote on his Facebook page.

(Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Continue reading for the city’s news release.

From the City of Roanoke: On Wednesday, May 4, the City of Roanoke and the non-profit group Local Colors of Western Virginia will host “An Evening with George Takei: On Inclusion and Diversity.” Open to the public, this special event will promote the acceptance of immigrants and refugees in our community, and warn against systemic racism.  Mr. Takei will speak about his personal experience, as a Japanese-American held in American internment camps with his family during World War II. At the event, Local Colors Board President Jay Saunders will officially welcome Mr. Takei to our city and introduce other dignitaries in attendance. Earlier this year, Mr. Takei graciously accepted an invitation from the Local Colors board of directors and Roanoke City Council to talk publicly about his experiences and to share insights on the challenges and potential rewards of life in the cultural melting pot that is 21 st Century America. “We are thrilled to have Mr. Takei visit Roanoke,” said Saunders. “This is a rare and valuable opportunity for the people of Roanoke to hear a first-hand account of a difficult time in our nation’s history.  The injustices endured by Japanese Americans of that period must not be forgotten.” Admission to the event will be free and open to the public, but tickets will be required for entrance. Details about the location and time, as well as ticket distribution will be shared as the event date nears.