Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Rudy Tokiwa Interview II
Narrator: Rudy Tokiwa
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda (primary), Judy Niizawa (secondary)
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: July 2 & 3, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-trudy-02-0059

<Begin Segment 59>

RT: But then after I got married, I started to think more about all this training and all this stuff that I had gone through. And I thought "Now, with the knowledge that I have about all this racist stuff and whatnot, I think I can be help to all these kids." So my son, my oldest son, was going to school. And I used to go to all the PTA meetings and stuff. There wasn't much going on, as far as what I felt should be. And I felt that they should be talkin' more about educating the kids than what kind of party they're gonna have. And I thought that parents should be forced to come to these meetings. After all, it's their kids. And so for some reason, I actually got, I was president of the PTA. In fact, I was the first man in the area ever to become a president of the PTA. It was always women.

And so when I became president of the PTA, I says, "All right, from now on, every family will send a representative to the PTA meeting. And if you don't send a representative, we will come to your family to find out why." And so then I said, "Now, everything is black and white. There's no such thing as this parent's coming in and makin' an excuse. It's either black or it's white." And I said, "I think that's the way the schools and stuff should be run." You don't look at 'em and say, "Well he's a Mexican, or he's Oriental." As far as I'm concerned, they're all Americans. And they're to be treated equally. And so I went over pretty big as a, because we had Chicanos and everything in the area, and I went over pretty big as a PTA president.

TI: Were you able to get everybody to attend the PTA meetings?

RT: Oh, yes. They, we had one of the best PTAs in the valley. So then they come out to me, people wanted me to start Boy Scouts. They said, "Gee, the way you handled that PTA, you'd make a good scoutmaster." I said, "Oh, I don't know about that." So I finally, okayed. And gee we had one of the top Boy Scouts of America troop, and our cub scouts were one of the tops. But it was the same thing there. Too many people were tryin' to teach these kids military stuff. Kids shouldn't be taught military stuff, because you don't want them growing up to think war. So I taught other stuff about what kinda games to play, and what kinda future you need for your life, and what you are going to be up against, and why you have to learn how to tie knots, and how you gotta do this. (There) were (...) explanations. And (...) I also brought in the fact that you don't just send your kids to the scout programs so you can go see a movie or somethin'. Your son comes to a scout program, the mother or father will be there with them. Now if you can't, you have to report to me and I will give you the answer, whether he's gonna be marked as absent or present. Oh, then this boy scouting really good. Everybody started to appreciate it and the kids enjoyed it.

TI: That's interesting, how you really wanted to get the parents' participation.

RT: Yeah. You have to get, see I felt that, gee, even like in the army, it's no good for just the little soldiers down in the bottom to do things. You gotta get that colonel and captain and everything to go into the front lines where you're at, so they can see what's goin' on. That's what you gotta, that's what's gotta be seen, is what's going on.

TI: How about values? I mean, when you think of the scouts and PTA, or when you think of children, what values did you want to sort of impart upon the children?

RT: Well, I've always said, I've always felt that you've got to teach a child that whatever is hard to get is usually something that's good for you. You don't turn around and ask your parents for every little thing you want, because then, that is what we call being spoiled. So when I had, like in the scouting program and the PTA and stuff, when I used to have a parents and child meeting, these were the things I would talk about. This is the reason why people realize the fact that, hey, as far as he's concerned, it's not just the parents, it's the kid that's gotta learn along with 'em. They both gotta learn together.

<End Segment 59> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.