The Girl with Hair Like the Sun

By Claire Mix

Inspired by the award-winning, Emmy-nominated documentary film, "Gila River and Mama: The Ruth Mix Story."

In June of 1943, most young teenagers were hanging out in soda shops, enjoying their summer vacation. However, fifteen-year-old Ruth Mix was volunteering in a Japanese American Internment Camp in the barren heat of the Arizona desert. The daughter of an activist mother, giving help to the needy was common in her life, but nothing would prepare her for the injustices she witnessed working as the only Caucasian nurse’s aide in the Gila River camp hospital.

Despite the strict rules of segregation, Ruth made many secret friendships, and even found love. She watched as the families of her new friends were forced to live in primitive conditions and denied everyday items that she had taken for granted. Eventually, she began smuggling in basic necessities for the internees: fresh food, baby diapers, soap and powder. This simple act of kindness was considered a crime, but Ruth was willing to risk getting caught and arrested.

The tall, red-headed teenager became known among the Japanese American internees as Taiyo mitaina kaminoke: The Girl with Hair like the Sun.


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