Only What We Can Carry

Bainbridge Evacuation copy
The iconic photo of Fumiko Hayashida holding her daughter Natalie at the Bainbridge Island ferry dock on March 30, 1942.
OWWCC11, Fumiko and Natalie2 copy
Mother and daughter, 70 years later, being photographed at the Japanese American National Museum, April 2011.

Only What We Can Carry Project

(OWWCC) brings together citizens and educators to bridge classroom and community fostering lessons about exclusion, inclusion, culture and identity for elementary and secondary students, through the study of WWII, Japanese American Internment, and its impact on Bainbridge Island.

Japanese Americans on Bainbridge Island Ferry
Bainbridge Island Residents of Japanese Ancestry walking down the Eagledale Dock with only what they could carry, begining their forced removal, March 30, 1942.

“Only What We Could Carry” was the rule, 
so we carried Strength, Dignity and Soul. 
– Lawson Fusao Inada

Bainbridge Island educators and students are in a unique educational landscape to engage with living local and global history, particularly because of the Island’s role in the story of WWII. OWWCC is an educational and community development project founded to provide educators, students and Bainbridge citizens lived experienced that can inform a more lived curriculum. More information on student field programs with OWWCC here.

OWWCC at memorial

Currently this initiative is leading two major programs for adults and educators: the OWWCC Delegation to Manzanar, retracing the journey of internment by visiting Manzanar, and the professional development for educators, educating local teachers about the history and heritage of Bainbridge Island through the lives of members of descendants of our “original” community.

“I feel that the information I received is invaluable. I hope all teachers will have the chance to experience this – not only teachers that teach about internment. The knowledge is invaluable – it shapes your personal beliefs and thinking.” –Teacher from Ordway Elementary

“I am not a trained History/Social Studies teacher – all my learning is experiential. The opportunities to get something, so close, and personal is invaluable.” –Teacher from the Odyssey School

“This experience has been an] affirmation of our collective responsibility as educators to keep special, unique story of our place, our people, our community, our history.” –K-12 Teacher


OWWCC Delegation to Manzanar Imagine having the opportunity to walk the grounds of the former Manzanar Concentration in the shoes of Japanese American residents of your community who had been incarcerated there during WWII.  OWWCC has organized delegations of Bainbridge Island educators paired with current and former citizens of Bainbridge Island who lived through WWII and the experience of internment, to retrace the 1942 journey of the Bainbridge Island Japanese community to the Manzanar Concentration Camp. These journeys of discovery have charted new educational territory along the frontier of bearing witness to the Japanese American experience of exclusion, at a crucial period in its historical and contemporary legacy.
Learn Click here to learn more and see a short documentary about the OWWCC Delegation to Manzanar 

OWWCC Professional Development

OWWCC’s offers a Summer Institute, an intensive three day program offering educators an opportunity to explore landscapes and lessons of exclusion, inclusion, citizenship and community surrounding WWII and the Japanese American Internment, through the experiences of a particular island community in the Puget Sound.

Learn more about the OWWCC Summer Institute.

Readings and Resources  related to Only What We Can Carry


OWWCC Board of Advisors

• Carrie Andresen-Strawn, Manzanar Historic Site, National Park Service
• Jim Corsetti, Principal, Sakai Intermediate School
• Bill Covert, Wilkes Elementary School
• Gail Davis, Breidablik Elementary School
• Kathy Ellison, Sakai Intermediate School
• Mary Fox, Breidablik Elementary School
• Frank Kitamoto, Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community
• Lilly Kodama, Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community
• Hisa Matsudaira, Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community
• Kay Nakao, Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community
• Jo Vander Stoep, Retired Principal, Sakai Intermediate School
• Mary Woodward, Educator and Author, “In Defense of Our Neighbors”

OWWCC Partners and Collaborators:

• Bainbridge Island School District
• Multicultural Advisory Council of Bainbridge Island School District
• Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community
• Walt and Milly Woodward Fund
• Bainbridge Island Historical Museum
• Town and Country Market
• Bainbridge One Call for All
• Manzanar Historic Site, National Park Service
• Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council


• Jon Garfunkel, Co-Director, (Managing Director, Global Source Education)
• Katy Curtis, Co-Director (Educational Outreach Coordinator, Bainbridge Island Historical Museum)
**We received a generous grant from the Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council through our partnership with the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum that allowed us to to document our 3rd Annual Delegation to the Manzanar Historic Site. 

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