By Tom Oshidari
On October 10, 2018, San Jose was privileged to be one of four venues nationally (Washington DC, Los Angeles, and San Francisco were the three others) to have a premiere showing of the film, An American Story: Norman Mineta and His Legacy. The private, invitation-only showing at the Hammer Theater gave audience priority to the Mineta family, local donors, interviewees, and selected VIPs. The remaining available seats were distributed among the local Legacy Partners (organizations which donated $1000), which included San Jose JACL, Silicon Valley JACL, JAMsj, Wesley United Methodist Church, San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin, and Yu-Ai Kai. The Mineta Transportation Institute graciously subsidized the theater rental and a VIP reception.
The evening began with the reception for VIPs with light refreshments and brief speeches by some of the many dignitaries, as well as brief remarks by Norm. Then on to the film screening, chronicling Norm’s remarkable life and career, mostly through interviews with those who have been associated with him along the way.
After the film, the filmmakers and Norm took the stage for a brief discussion session. It was particularly sad to hear Norm reveal that it was the beginning of today’s dysfunctional, partisan Congress that led to his retiring from Congress. Whereas when the Democrats were the majority party, Norm worked “across the aisle” with the Republicans; when the Republicans became the majority party and Norm asked when would the committee meetings convene, he was told that his input no longer would be required. So as a Congressperson, he was left to “twiddle his thumbs.”
An American Story: Norman Mineta and His Legacy is scheduled to be shown nationally on Public Television sometime in 2019. Be sure to watch for it.