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Enduring Democracy: The Monterey Petition

Directed by David Schendel
  • 2022
  • 67 mins

Examines how Monterey was one of the only communities that publicly welcomed their Japanese neighbors back from the incarceration centers after WWII. “Enduring Democracy: the Monterey Petitions” explores the motivations of the wealthy individuals who financed hate campaigns as well as the daring women who spearheaded the carefully thought-out response. Inspired by Mollie Sumida’s letter to the editor written while imprisoned in camp and impervious to threats of violence, residents banded together to get their community to sign Toni Jackson’s petition pledging “The Democratic Way of Life for All.” The petition drive and subsequent posting in The Monterey Herald effectively put a stop to the public efforts of several well-funded fear campaigns against California Japanese American citizens.

About the Director
David C. Schendel was born in Springfield, Massachusetts and grew up in Minnesota. David began his career at age 12 with his first film, “Don’t Show Mom This One!” A graduate of the University of Washington School of Drama, he started with live-theatre directing before dedicating his talents to filmmaking. “The Can,” David’s first feature-length film premiered at the famous Coolidge Corner Theatre in Boston and became an underground film sensation. His award-winning documentary about classic cars in Cuba, “Yank Tanks” was shown at film festivals around the world, screened on PBS and was opening night film at the prestigious NY MoMA Documentary Fortnite. David’s film “The Comedy Club,” won a Jury Award for Best Documentary at Cinema at the Edge in Los Angeles and is in world-wide distribution. He recently premiered a new civil rights documentary, “Enduring Democracy: The Monterey Peninsula” and is currently filming in the wilderness with Tony Foster on a new feature “Painting at the Edge.” His apprenticeship with his dad, studies in behavioral science and passion for classical theatre continue to infuse his work with an emphasis on humor and a concern for the future of planet Earth.

Plays in


Due to the vast number of entries this year, the Films of Remembrance Committee could not accommodate many of the films submitted for consideration due to limited programming time at our in-person screenings. However, we thought the following films were worthy enough to include as a special virtual-only program, making them accessible throughout the world. From the rare nature of Monterey, Calif. citizens to publicly welcome Japanese Americans back from concentration camps, to a coming-of-age documentary of a camp survivor-turned-activist, to the heartwarming joys of senior bowlers who continued to bowl in Salt Lake City, Utah into their 90s, these films provide unique glimpses of life after camp.