To access archived press releases and statements posted on the JACL website, use your mouse to scrollover the panel you wish to open and click on it. Documents are tabbed and arranged in reverse chronological order.
Washington, D.C. -- The National Youth/Student Council of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL NY/SC), the youth body of the oldest and largest Asian Pacific American civil and human rights organization, expresses its concern over the racist and anti-gay graffiti that was found spray-painted on the Great River School in St. Paul, Minnesota.
National JACL contacted the school administrator, who has informed the organization that the school was deeply troubled by the graffiti and had it removed immediately. However, the JACL NY/SC is saddened that a place of learning was targeted and defaced. We are pleased that proper action was taken and the Great River School students were counseled of the negative effects of hate messages such as those used on the school’s property.
The JACL NY/SC will be holding its biennial National Youth Conference at Macalester College in St. Paul from June 26-28, 2009. It is a time when youth and students from around the country will be gathering to celebrate diversity. The JACL NY/SC is confident that this year’s National Youth Conference will be its best ever and hopes that youth and students join us in the Twin Cities to demonstrate that hate and discrimination have no place in our world.
For more information on the 2009 JACL National Youth Conference, please visit the conference website: http://www.jacl.org/youth/conference-youth.htm.
Washington, D.C. - The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the nation's oldest and largest Asian American civil and human rights organization, joined calls demanding that journalist Roxana Saberi be released from a prison in Tehran, Iran, where political prisoners are routinely detained.
Saberi, an American citizen of Japanese and Iranian descent, was detained in late January by Iranian authorities without explanation at the time. Saberi’s status and whereabouts were unknown until one month later.
Reports cite Iranian authorities saying she was arrested for working as a journalist after the government revoked her press credentials.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, several media outlets including NPR, ABC, and the BBC, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Asian American Journalists Association, and other groups have called for her release or at least due process.
Floyd Mori, National Executive Director of the JACL, stated: “Japanese Americans are well aware of the failure to provide due process. Basic human rights demand that Ms. Saberi not be held on bogus charges and that her family be allowed to communicate with her and have access to their daughter. In a contemporary global world, nobody should have to be subjected to the kind of incarceration and unknown treatment that Ms. Saberi is apparently having to endure. The JACL joins many other world human rights advocates in demanding the immediate release of Roxana Saberi.”
Saberi, 31, was born in New Jersey, raised in Fargo, North Dakota, and has lived in Iran for the past six years, filing stories for NPR, ABC, BBC and others media outlets. Before her arrest, she was pursuing a master's degree in Iranian studies and international relations and writing a book about Iran.
JACL National President, Larry Oda states that “The JACL urges the Iranian government to release Ms. Saberi and asks that she be given permission to return to her home country, the United States.”
Washington, D.C. – The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the nation’s oldest and largest Asian American civil and human rights organization, sent a letter to President Jim Wright, current president of Dartmouth College, expressing dismay at the disparaging email about Dr. Jim Yong Kim, who is to become the 17th President for Dartmouth College on July 1, 2009. The email, which was sent to a large number of Dartmouth students, portrayed Dr. Kim in racist terms and was dismissed by the Dartmouth administration as “an offensive attempt at humor.”
Although some, including the Dartmouth student who wrote the email, have characterized the message as satire, the JACL and other Asian Pacific American (APA) organizations consider the email as racist and offensive. While he apologized and claimed that his intent was not one of malice against the Asian community, the writer admitted to trying to criticize what he perceived as surprise among many at the naming of an Asian American President of Dartmouth College.
Ed Haldeman, Chair of Dartmouth’s Board of Trustees, said when Dr. Kim was appointed, “…we are confident he is the ideal person to lead the College in today’s rapidly changing environment.”
Dr. Kim is the first Asian American to ever be appointed as President of an Ivy League College. Dr. Kim is well qualified to serve as President of Dartmouth College. He grew up in Iowa where his leadership qualities were recognized at an early age. He was valedictorian and class president as well as quarterback for his high school football team. He holds an M.D. from Harvard Medical School and a Ph. D from Harvard University. He has been recognized internationally for his many accomplishments and leadership abilities.
The JACL deals with incidents of defamation and racism on a frequent basis. The organization often does trainings in racist and hate issues. Executives of the JACL and other APA organizations are willing to meet with the Dartmouth administration to help make this a positive teaching experience about the social and individual impact that such racial slurs have upon the APA communities and the community at large.
National Executive Director of the JACL, Floyd Mori, stated: “While Dartmouth positions itself as a premier Ivy League school with excellence in academics, it should be a leader in promoting more tolerant human relations and educate its students that racial slurs and dehumanizing comments should not have a part of today’s society. We urge a more pro-active direction rather than an apologetic condoning of this action. Humor should not attempt to destroy character nor integrity.”
Washington, D.C. -- The national Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) through its National Youth/Student Council (NY/SC) sent a letter to Miley Cyrus in response to a photograph that showed Cyrus and a group of her friends slanting and narrowing their eyes in an effort to mock Asian Pacific Americans. This letter is sent after the NY/SC issued a statement following the surfacing of the photograph, acknowledging that a recent posting on her website explaining her behavior was not ’t enough to undo the damage of her actions.
The following is a copy of the letter.
Dear Ms. Cyrus,
First, we want to thank you for your attempt to remedy the situation by posting a short news flash on your website. However, we find that this is not enough to undo the damage of your actions, which are reprehensible to the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and particularly our youth. We are not attempting to prolong this situation longer than it needs to be. Nevertheless, as concerned fans and as members of American society, we are looking for some understanding on your part. Simply stating that you did not mean to offend and that this incident taught you a valuable lesson does not convey to the thousands of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) fans that you truly understand our grievance and why we found your actions to be so offensive.
In your show “Hannah Montana” and in your daily life, one of the great lessons that one learns is that fame and fortune require social responsibility, accountability for one’s actions, and an ability to step into the shoes of your fans so that you can better reach out to them. AAPIs have been the target of social angst and hate crimes since the arrival of the first Asian immigrant groups in the nineteenth century. Your conduct in the offending photo was and continues to be a means by which non-Asians have alienated and ostracized Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Thoughtless actions such as yours form a foundation of indifference that have led to tragic events like the Japanese American internment. It all stems from a continuum of pointing out AAPIs immutable characteristics as being inherently different. Your mockery tells us that we are not like you—that we are not American enough for you.
We would like you to take responsibility for your actions by sincerely apologizing for your conduct and stating that you understand why we are upset and reach out to the AAPI community and work with us towards eradicating discrimination.
Kimberly M. Shintaku
National Youth/Student Council Chair
National Youth Representative
Japanese American Citizens League
Washington, D.C. -- The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization in the United States, takes issue with what appears to be a pattern of perpetuating racial stereotypes of Asian Americans on the show. During segments of the Stephanie Miller Radio Show aired on December 18, 2008, and January 6, 2009, the hosts engaged in racist antics at the expense of the Asian American community.
The following is a copy of the letter sent to the show's executive producer.
Dear Mr. Lavoie:
It was recently brought to my attention that during segments of the Stephanie Miller Radio Show aired on December 18, 2008, and January 6, 2009, the hosts engaged in racist antics at the expense of the Asian American community. The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization in the United States, takes issue with what appears to be a pattern of perpetuating racial stereotypes of Asian Americans on the show.
Specifically, we are offended by the racial mockery of the Kim Jong-Il character, voiced by Jim Ward, in which he transposes the letter "R" with "L" in speech, and uses the song "We Have to Celebrate Our Differences" that includes the lines "ching-chong" and "ugga-booga." We are well aware that your nationally syndicated radio show uses satire and humor in discussing politics and current affairs.
The JACL is not opposed to the creative handling of political stories. However, we find that the Kim Jong-Il impersonation crosses the line between genuine political satire and reinforcing outlandish racial stereotypes. We fail to find humor or commentary in what appears to be nothing more than a stunt carelessly laced with childish racial mockery. Instead of providing insight, the skit succeeds in reinforcing language stereotypes of Asian immigrants who sincerely attempt to speak the English language. Targeting Kim Jong-Il for satire is fair game, however, behavior that encourages the use of racial stereotypes is not. We ask that you cease this racially-charged behavior that demeans Asian Americans.
Japanese American Citizens League
Washington, D.C.-- The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) took issue with a South Carolina car dealer’s advertising campaign which ran a radio ad entitled “Wake Up America” in which he characterized Japanese-made cars as “rice ready” rather than “road ready.” The car dealer, O. C. Welch, criticized people who buy Japanese cars and asked why vehicles made by Toyota don’t have that new car smell.
Floyd Mori, National Executive Director for the JACL, responded to various press inquiries on the issue. Mori was quoted as saying that Welch’s remarks evoke the same anti-Asian sentiments often aimed at Japanese and Chinese immigrants to the United States from the 1930’s through World War II. He noted that many Japanese automakers’ cars are manufactured in America. He further stated: “It’s a blatant, ignorant, racist remark from somebody who should know better.”
Mr. Welch issued a press release and sent the apology for his comments in the recent advertisements to the JACL. He stated: “I would like to apologize for my comments in recent radio advertisements. I am passionate about my love for Ford, and I mistakenly and wrongly conveyed this passion. I do not and will not condone discrimination and am sorry for any hurt I have caused.” The JACL acknowledged the apology and noted that car dealers are one of many businesses suffering as a result of the economic downturn.
The JACL issued a letter to Mr. Welch in which it stated that the remarks were hurtful and potentially harmful to all Asian Americans because they were reminiscent of racist sentiment during the recession in the 1980’s that acutely affected the auto industry in Detroit. During that period, Japanese automakers were often scapegoated as the sole source of the economic hardships. It was in this environment that Vincent Chin, a young Chinese American, was beaten to death on the streets of a Detroit suburb by two autoworkers who blamed Chin for their problems, saying, “It’s because of you that we’re out of work.” Chin was not Japanese, nor was he or Japan responsible for all the unemployment caused by the recession. Instead, Chin was the tragic victim of a climate of economic fear abetted by racism. He was victimized by racism in the same manner as Japanese Americans who were incarcerated in concentration camps in remote areas of the United States during World War II. It is for this reason that the JACL abhorred the remarks of the radio ad for the racism it invoked and for any misplaced anger it may have inflamed.
The JACL has worked with American automobile companies on various programs in the past and partners with Ford Motor Company on a youth leadership and empowerment program which includes anti-hate issues.
San Fransicso , CA – The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) has joined the Anti-Defamation League, the Asian Law Caucus, Bet Tzedek Legal Services, and Public Counsel in submitting an amicus brief (friend of the court brief) in support of the Petition for Writ of Mandate in the case of Strauss, et al. v. Horton, et al.
The Writ requests that the California Supreme Court issue an order invalidating Proposition 8 in its entirety. Proposition 8 was passed by the voters on November 4th and added Section 7.5 to Article I of the California Constitution providing: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” The passage of Proposition 8 overruled portions of the In re Marriage Cases where the California Supreme Court held that statutes precluding same-sex marriage were unconstitutional and in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the California Constitution.
“The JACL supports the invalidation of Proposition 8 because it effectively eliminates the protections of the state’s Equal Protection Clause for same sex couples with regard to their fundamental right to marry,” said National President Larry Oda. “The JACL was among the first civil rights organizations in the nation to support marriage equality. We believe Proposition 8 sets a dangerous precedent by taking away from citizens the rights that have already been granted.”
In the past, JACL has been a strong supporter of marriage equality. In 1967, the JACL was an amici to the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Loving v. Virginia, the seminal case that struck down anti-miscegenation in 17 states. Since 1994, throughout the In re Marriage Cases of 2007-2008, and to the present, JACL has supported equal protection of the right to marry regardless of a person’s sexual orientation.
“The JACL has always worked for maintaining the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. Any union of a couple that is based on love, mutual respect, sacrifice, and lifetime commitment should be afforded the same legal rights and process regardless of what that union is called by institutions within our society,” said National Director Floyd Mori.
As amici, the JACL supports the Petitioners contention that the implications of an attempt to constitutionalize an overt denial of equal protection are profound and are not limited to gays, or to lesbians, or to marriage. The same process could effectively eliminate any and all protected rights under the state Constitution and no Californian should be denied state equal protection with regard to the fundamental right to marry.
San Francisco, CA - Following Tuesday’s election, the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) expressed concern over ballot initiatives in several states that denied equal rights to gays and lesbians.
California’s Proposition 8, Arizona’s Proposition 102 and Florida’s Amendment 2, all passed by the voters, denied to gays and lesbians the right to marriage equality. In Arkansas, voters also prohibited gay couples from adopting children by passing Initiative 1.
“The United States Constitution provides for equal treatment under the law to all of our citizens,” stated National JACL President Larry Oda. “No one group should be singled out for discrimination. We have not forgotten that as Asian Americans, we, too, were once the victims of marriage discrimination in this country. Racism was the motivating factor back then, and it is incumbent upon us to be vigilant and not allow homophobia to guide our laws today.”
The JACL, in 1994, was one of the first civil rights groups in the nation to affirm its support for marriage equality. The organization stated in a resolution that marriage equality “was a constitutional right that should not be denied because of a person’s sexual orientation.”
Lawsuits have been filed by the ACLU and the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office to block the implementation of Proposition 8 in California.
“We are deeply troubled by these initiatives, yet our resolve remains steadfast,” commented Ron Katsuyama, JACL Vice President for Public Affairs. “The JACL will explore what we can do to support these legal challenges. Who one chooses to love and marry should be an individual and personal choice, not one limited by illegal and discriminatory laws.”
Midwest JACL Office - The Midwest office of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) responded to an assault of an Asian American alumnus of the University of Colorado. The following is a copy of the letter sent to the University Chancellor.
Dear Chancellor Peterson:
The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the nation’s oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization, is deeply concerned by the recent assault on an Asian American student who recently graduated from the University of Colorado. We understand from media accounts that the victim was brutally accosted by at least two white men who called him a “Chinaman” and hit him in his face multiple times while telling him to say “I love America.”
We are pleased that you condemned this attack, acknowledging the racial dimension of what appears to be a hate crime. The university must take all appropriate measures to provide assistance to the victim, and cooperate fully with law enforcement to help ensure that the perpetrators are apprehended.
This incident reminds us of the pointless column “If it’s war the Asians want…It’s war they’ll get,” published by The Campus Press earlier this year. While the column and this recent attack may not be linked, it demonstrates that an atmosphere of intolerance exists at the university. The diversity and prejudice reduction programs that were put into place following the January episode need to be reinforced and expanded. Moreover, hate crimes on college and university campuses are significantly underreported. The first step in dealing with campus hate crimes is to make sure they are reported. Following a full investigation of this attack, and if it is determined to be a hate crime, the university must ensure that this information is reported to the FBI and to the U.S. Department of Education as required by law. The University of Colorado has much to do to persuade students and the public that a safe environment exists to foster learning. We hope the university takes affirmative measures to lessen this anxiety.Sincerely,
Japanese American Citizens League
San Francisco, CA - On October 23, Japanese Americans gathered in San Francisco Japantown to speak out against Proposition 8, a ballot measure that would amend the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry. If passed, Proposition 8 would change the constitution so that only marriage between a man and a woman would be valid or recognized in California.
“We are here this afternoon united in our opposition to Proposition 8,” stated Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) Regional Director Patty Wada. “We are united in our firm belief that discrimination against any group of people has no place in our state constitution.”
The National JACL was in the forefront of the effort for marriage equality. In 1994, the organization stated that the denial of marriage was a violation of civil and human rights and the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The JACL, the oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization in the nation, supports the concept of marriage as a constitutional right that should not be denied because of a person’s sexual orientation.
The press event, organized by JACL NCWNP District, featured several speakers and supporters of “No on Proposition 8,” many of whom drew the parallels between discrimination of the past and efforts taking place today.
Stan Yogi, author of an upcoming book on civil liberties in California, stated, “Eighty-eight years ago, Japanese Americans were the targets of a California ballot initiative intended to strip Issei of equal rights. That initiative denied Issei the right to own and lease land. Proposition 8 would deny lesbians and gay men the right to marry. Although focused on different communities, both initiatives share the fundamental aim of taking away rights from a minority group. History has shown it is unjust to single out a group for unequal treatment, whether Japanese Americans in 1920 or lesbians and gay men today. Japanese Americans can be on the right side of history by standing up for fairness and voting no on Proposition 8.”
Karen Kai, former chairperson of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, reminded the community of a time when discrimination in California contributed to anti-miscegenation laws. She urged voters to “recognize that the effort to bar lesbian and gay couples from marrying is rooted in the same intolerable prejudice that barred Asians from marrying whites in the early 1900s.” She recounted how the opponents of interracial marriage “trumpeted the need to protect ‘morality’ to disguise their call for racial purity based in anti-Asian prejudice. The ‘morality’ of Proposition 8 is cut from the same shameful cloth.”
Elsie Uyeda Chung, a Nisei, shared copies of an article she wrote titled, “My Son is Gay.” She spoke proudly of her son, Richard, who works in Los Angeles on the popular television show, “The Simpsons.” A member of Asian Pacific Islander Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (API PFLAG), Uyeda-Chung told the crowd, “My son asks me, ‘Mom, when will we ever be treated equally?” To help make that day a reality, Uyeda-Chung volunteers everyday in the offices of the “No on Proposition 8” campaign.
Emily Murase, a member of the Rosa Parks Japanese Bilingual, Bicultural Program Parent- Teacher Community Council and a candidate for the SF Board of Education, described how couples and families today come in diverse shapes and sizes. She said, “We must defeat Proposition 8 and defend the human rights of our classmates, our colleagues, our sisters and brothers, daughters and sons, mothers and fathers, grandmas and grandpas. Improving the human rights of the LGBT communities improves us all. Denying human rights of these communities diminishes us all.”
Megumi Kaminaga, founder of the JACL Nakayoshi Group for Young Professionals, said, “Growing up, my parents only taught me to look for the good in people…they taught me that love had no boundaries and that marriage was a bond and commitment between two people who had the utmost respect for one another. To vote yes on Proposition 8 would go against everything that my parents and our community have worked so hard to instill in today’s younger generation -- the lessons of acceptance and to fight for equality for all, and to speak out against practices we recognize as discriminatory. The choices we make in our lives should be our own. The choice to love someone shouldn’t be restricted by discriminatory laws. “
National JACL has joined the “No on Prop 8 Equality for All” Campaign and JACL districts and chapters are educating their members on the issue and contributing to efforts to defeat Proposition 8 on the November 4 ballot.
Alan Mollerskov, the principal of Union Grove High School contacted JACL Midwest Director Bill Yoshino to inform him that the school decided not to proceed with plans to use an inflated sumo costume for its "Spirit Week" activities.
Midwest JACL Office - The Midwest office of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) responded to an offensive spirit week activity at Union Grove High School that involved a wrestling match between the assistant prinipal dressed in an inflated "sumo" costume and an indiviual selected by the student body.
The following is a copy of the letter that was sent to the principal.
Dear Mr. Mollerskov:
As the oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization in the United States, the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) is disappointed to learn about a particular activity during “spirit week” at Union Grove Union High School. It’s our understanding that one of the activities is to have the assistant principal wear an inflated “sumo” costume for the purpose of wresting someone selected by the student body.
This activity is deplorable because it utilizes a racial stereotype that serves no redeeming purpose except to formulate superficial, negative impressions about an aspect of Japanese culture to students. Irrespective of whether Union Grove Union High School has a diverse student population, the school should promote cultural diversity in a positive manner.
Furthermore, this particular activity denigrates an ancient and venerated Japanese sport, which is rich in history and tradition. We are not opposed to instilling spirit and enthusiasm among students in supporting the high school. However, we would hope that the school leadership would exercise racial and cultural sensitivity in the pursuit of arousing school spirit rather than teaching students to mock the culture of others.
Japanese American Citizens League
Honolulu, HI - Rex Johnson extended his resignation on October 8, 2008 after a day long meeting of the HTA Board of Directors.
Source: Honolulu Advertiser
Honolulu, HI - The Honolulu chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) responded to a series of offensive emails sent by Hawai'i Tourism Authority Chief Executive Officer Rex Johnson that denigrated women and minorities.
The following is a copy of the statement issued by the Honolulu chapter.
As the nation's oldest and largest Asian Pacific American civil rights organization, the JACL Hawai`i, Honolulu Chapter stands in solidarity with NAACP Hawai`i to express our outrage at the discovery of additional unprofessional and offensive emails sent by the CEO of the Hawai`i Tourism Authority (HTA), Rex Johnson.
As the head of the HTA, Mr. Johnson's mission is to work toward attracting people, from all over the world, of every race and ethnic background, to visit Hawai`i. These emails reflect attitudes which undermine this mission, and call into question the effectiveness of an individual who finds such bigotry humorous.
These emails were deeply hurtful to the women and minorities who were denigrated within them. They conflict with Hawaii's strong tradition of tolerance, and our community's bedrock principle – that diversity is one of our greatest strengths. We call upon Mr. Johnson to resign, or that the HTA Board remove him.
Shawn L.M. Benton
President, JACL Honolulu Chapter
San Francisco, CA - The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) has joined the “No on Prop 8 Equality for All” Campaign in support of marriage equality in the state of California. This campaign is an effort to defeat Proposition 8 in November which, if enacted, would not recognize any marriage that is not between a man and a woman.
The JACL has been an advocate of marriage equality for years, being one of the first non-LGBT organizations in the nation to support this issue. When the California Supreme Court overturned the ban on gay marriage in May, JACL National President Larry Oda stated, “The JACL commends the California Supreme Court for its decision regarding marriage equality for all Californians. We feel all people should have the right to marry whom they choose. This proposition would blatantly deny a specific group of people the respect and dignity of equal treatment under the law. We will continue our work to support similar efforts in states across our nation.”
Several JACL Chapters have already made statements against California’s Proposition 8 and an organized effort to defeat this proposition in support of gay rights is already under way.
We are proud to work with the Japanese American Citizens League on the NO on Prop 8 campaign to ensure that no Californian is treated differently under the laws of our state," said Steve Smith, senior strategist for NO on Prop 8. "Gay and lesbian people are our neighbors, our friends, our coworkers and our family members. We should not hurt gay and lesbian couples in California by voting to eliminate their freedom to marry the person they love. Together we will work to ensure that no one is singled out for unfair treatment under our constitution."
San Francisco, CA -- The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the nation’s oldest and largest Asian American civil and human rights organization, is astonished by the action of the LPGA in requiring its players to speak English or risk suspension. The JACL does not accept the LPGA rationale that this rule is needed to increase its marketability and ensure public interest at pro-am events. Rather than invoke this rule, which would require players who have been on the LPGA Tour for two years to pass an English evaluation by the end of 2009, the LPGA should reconsider and retract this action.
The hallmark of athletic performance is rooted in the skill and tenacity of those who play the game, and not in a criterion that tests English proficiency. Moreover, a lesson from the recent Olympic Games is that athletic excellence is not determined by national boundaries or by a proficiency in a certain language. The JACL is greatly disturbed because this rule would selectively affect a large number of foreign-born players, including a sizable delegation from South Korea. These players honor the game of golf with their skill and sportsmanship, and they should not risk suspension because they fail an English proficiency test or because they may choose not to learn the English language.
The disturbing feature of this policy is that it runs counter to American ideals that encourage and value diversity. Moreover it ignores a recognition that globalization extends beyond the import and export of consumer goods to internationalizing sporting events to ensure the best in competition. This is exemplified in sports such as Major League Baseball where foreign participation is actively sought, without imposing restrictive language barriers. The JACL believes that if the LPGA is interested in increasing its marketability, it should reject an insular mentality and focus on attracting, rather than excluding, skilled players. The international nature of sports requires tolerance, which is a basic human value. Language is something that any game of sports has overcome in developing good play and sportsmanship. Golf has a very major global component. Many American players go to foreign countries to hone their skills for the LPGA and the PGA.
National Executive Director of the JACL, Floyd Mori, stated: “The LPGA has taken tolerance and diversity back several giant steps after there have been some great strides of progress toward opening the game of golf to all people. The language requirement is clearly aimed at a specific cultural group of players who have excelled in the LPGA. It is ironic that when we have just completed the Olympics, where sport is touted as the common language that builds international relationships, where culture and language barriers are overcome, and where sportsmanship and competition are a measure of excellence in the game of sports, the LPGA regresses into such an unacceptable policy. The LPGA has had a sorry history of placing factors that do not contribute to the game itself as more important than the skill of playing golf.”
The JACL urges the LPGA to reconsider this new language requirement and respect the culture of their international players. The United States should be showing the way towards more inclusion and tolerance. The LPGA insults the fan base of their sport by not recognizing that those who follow the game and are loyal patrons of their tournaments, want to see excellence and skill. Their appreciation for the game is not measured in how well the players speak English. Internationalization of the game has made it more exciting and has developed a more competitive atmosphere among American players. The JACL maintains that the LPGA language policy is wrong!
JACL Chides Spanish Basketball Team for its Offensive Advertisement Pose
Washington, DC -- In a August 13 letter to Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, JACL national director Floyd Mori chided the Spanish men’s basketball team for its racially offensive pose in an advertisement in a leading Spanish newspaper.
The advertisement, which shows members of the basketball team pulling back the corners of their eyes, was shot prior to the Olympics for Seur, a courier company that sponsors the team. Mori indicated that the Spanish basketball team performs in the international arena where they come into contact with fans and opposing players from around there world, so there is “an expectation that the Spanish team will regard their opponents and the people of other nations with dignity and respect, especially within a world of human diversity.”
Although the basketball team has apologized for the incident, individuals connected to the team have not apologized, indicating that no harm was meant and that the pose was intended as a joke.
Mori pointed out that the behavior of the Spanish team defies a tenet of the Olympic movement that promotes peace and the preservation of human dignity. Mori went on to say that “it is a lesson that the organizers of the Spanish Olympic Committee need to be mindful of as they pursue their bid to serve as hosts in 2016.” Madrid is one of four sites under consideration for the 2016 Olympics.
SAN FRANCISCO – The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) strongly supports California Assembly bill AB 2064, which requires the California State Board of Education to include instruction on the Vietnam War, including instruction on the “Secret War” in Laos, the role of Southeast Asians in that war, and the refugee/immigrant/new American experience as a result of that war.
This bill follows and accentuates AB 78, which encouraged instruction on the “Secret War” of Laos and the role of Southeast Asians in that war.
Southeast Asians were allies of the United States in the struggle against the spread of communism during the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. After the war, many Southeast Asian groups, including Hmong, Lao, Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Mien, endured life-threatening hardship and oppression, which eventually forced them to leave their homes as refugees.
“With Southeast Asians as one of the fastest growing segments of the population in California, we must craft our school’s curriculum to convey their history,” said JACL National Education Committee Chair Elaine Akagi, “California’s students need to learn about the history of Southeast Asians who died while supporting the U.S. effort to contain the spread of communism and that once the U.S. withdrew in 1975, faced life-threatening hardship, forcing them to leave their homes as refugees.”
The JACL urges the California Legislature to pass AB 2064 and calls on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign the bill into law so that this important chapter in American history is included in California’s school curriculum.
Washington, DC – The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) is deeply disturbed by the sudden spate of hate crimes committed against the Sikh American community, and asks for stricter enforcement of punishment against those who commit such acts of violence and hate against others.
Concentrated in the New York City area, these crimes have included a Sikh American student’s hair being deliberately cut off by another student, and in a separate incident, a Sikh American student’s patka (headwear) being forcibly removed by another student at the school. (Sikhs leave their hair uncut and wear patkas for religious reasons.)
According to a report issued by the Sikh Coalition, over 40 percent of Sikh Americans living in New York City have experienced harassment because of their religion, and 60 percent of all Sikh American students have been either verbally or physically harassed because of their religious headwear.
The JACL urges citizens to demand stricter enforcement of punishment for those who commit acts of hate against others. It is vital that everyone is treated with respect and dignity, regardless of religious background.
WASHINGTON, DC – The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) applauds the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling that restores detainees of Guantanamo Bay the Constitutional right to habeas corpus. Based on the history of the Japanese American internment during World War II, the JACL has been concerned by the weakening of habeas corpus throughout this administration, barring detainees from obtaining legal counsel, collecting and presenting evidence in their defense, along with other basic tenets of due process.
“This decision is a huge step toward restoring the writ of habeas corpus,” said JACL National Director Floyd Mori. “This right was at the core of the World War II incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans, who were stripped of their due process rights and detained for years in America’s concentration camps. It is important to remember that habeas corpus is a fundamental tenet of the Constitution.”
Many of those imprisoned at Guantanamo have not been charged with any crime and have been detained indefinitely. The Supreme Court decision now allows suspects held at Guantanamo to challenge their detention in U.S. civil courts.
The JACL has opposed and continues to oppose legislative and administrative attempts to curtail or weaken the right of habeas corpus, in keeping with the organization’s basic mission to protect the civil rights of all citizens.
Dear Mr. Elkhay,
The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) is disturbed by a print advertisement that recently ran in the Providence Monthly for your new restaurant, Chinese Laundry. Numerous members of the Asian American community have also raised their concern regarding the ad, citing it as troubling and disturbing.
The ad depicts a naked East Asian woman’s chest and torso with the words, “Good things come to those who wait” printed below. What is troubling about the image is not necessarily the nudity, but the tawdry exoticism and hypersexualization of Asian women, that is put on display. Women of Asian descent have long suffered the stereotype of being hypersexualized and subservient creatures, and this ad does nothing but pigeonhole the modern Asian American woman into that caricature.
While we understand that there was little intention of perpetuating age-old stereotypes, please be aware that discrimination and stereotyping does still exist, and much of that is derived from images placed in the media. In the future, please refrain from releasing ads that portray Asian American women in such a derogatory light.Sincerely,
Japanese American Citizens League
National Youth/Student Council Responds to Article by Student COlumnist at University of Colorado, Boulder
Dear Ms. Hewlings:
The National Youth/Student Council of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) is deeply disturbed by student columnist Max Karson’s article, “If it’s war the Asians want…it’s war they’ll get.” As the oldest national Asian American civil and human rights organization, our mission is to ensure fair and equal treatment for all people and to work towards a society free of bigotry. The JACL National Youth/Student Council, comprised of student representatives from across the nation, is the official voice of youth in the organization. In our capacity, we monitor the media to ensure there is fair and balanced coverage, racial tolerance and cultural sensitivity.
In his article, Mr. Karson makes a multitude of ill-informed, racist statements. He writes that Asians will be rounded up from the “math and engineering buildings,” forced to eat “bad sushi from Hapa-with forks” as well as redecorate households “in a traditional American style.” Although the article has been characterized as satire, it nevertheless exploits common stereotypical misconceptions about Asian Americans. We, the JACL National Youth/Student Council, found Mr. Karson’s poor attempt at humor to be severely lacking in reason and intelligence.
The Asian Pacific Islander (“API”) community is incredibly diverse in its ethnic makeup, generational differences, and socio-economic status. Mr. Karson’s article neglects these crucial facts and continues to promote racist stereotypes about the API community, including that of the conniving Asian and the “model minority” myth, which encompasses the idea that a majority of API students gravitate toward math and science.
In a CU article released on February 22, 2008, the University of Colorado announced the implementation of diversity training for CU newspaper staff to further prevent any similar “editing lapses.” The JACL National Youth/Student Council believes this is a positive first step in fostering understanding, tolerance and respect for diversity on campus. However, we feel, there is a vital need to both educate the entire campus on an annual basis and to establish a strong policy on hate speech to avoid any similar articles or incidents from occurring. We will continue to monitor the Campus Press henceforth in the hope that immediate progress will be made.Sincerely,
National Youth/Student Council National Youth/Student Council
Mr. David Doss
Anderson Cooper 360
1 Time Warner Center
New York, NY 10019
Dear Mr. Doss:
The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) is perturbed by a segment that recently aired on Anderson Cooper 360 which portrayed Asian Americans as racist and ignorant. The February 8 segment, headlined “Asian American Vote,” implies that voters from this community are uninformed and racially prejudiced.
Half a minute into the segment reporter Gary Tuchman pokes fun at an Asian American who speaks with an accent and seems to say “Lincoln,” instead of “Clinton.” Two and a half minutes into the clip, he points out a woman who refers to the presidential candidate as “Clinton white lady.” The majority of those interviewed appear to have been plucked from an Asian grocery store and spoke broken English.
This is hardly a fair representation of the Asian American population. While there is certainly a large first-generation immigrant populace, there are just as many second, third, and fourth generation Asian Americans (especially in a city like Seattle) who could have been interviewed. The sound bite from the fourth-generation Japanese American gave little more than a passing glimpse into the vast demographic of Asian Americans who, indeed, do not speak with thick accents or vote based on fear of change.
Whether Asian Americans vote for Clinton or Obama or McCain, CNN could have at least afforded to assume these decisions were made based on informed opinions that were the result of keeping up with the issues and politics of the day. CNN instead opted to frame the story in a certain light, insinuating that many Asian Americans voting for Clinton are doing so because of her race, not her politics.
Please be more mindful of the manner in which your future stories are packaged. Asian Americans can be found in a variety of places outside of ethnic supermarkets.Sincerely,
Japanese American Citizens League
JACL Supoprts New Trial in Light of Possible Racial Bias Against Asian American Attorney
Dear Judge Austin:
The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the nation’s oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization, recently received information regarding allegations of racial bias on the part of some jurors relative to a medical malpractice lawsuit in the case of Darlene and Bill Turner (plaintiffs) and Dr. Nathan Stime (respondent) and the verdict which was rendered on December 7, 2007.
According to news reports and information received from several other sources, attorney for the
plaintiffs, Mark D. Kamitomo has filed a motion for a new trial after learning that some jurors may have
made inappropriate and racially biased remarks in reference to him and his ancestry during closed-door
jury deliberations. While the JACL is not in a position to comment on the specifics of the case or
whether or not the evidence presented supported the verdict, we do feel compelled to submit this inquiry
as to the whether or not the alleged remarks by jurors may have affected the final outcome of the
In an article published by the Spokesman Review, one juror admitted to referring to Mr. Kamitomo as “Mr Kamikazi” but denied any racial bias. Regardless of the intent, comments and negative biases that are allowed to enter into jury deliberations, particularly if they remain unchallenged,undermine the ability for all parties to receive fair and impartial treatment.
In the motion pending before the court, it is the position of the JACL that a compelling argument could be made for setting aside the jury’s verdict and granting the motion for a new trial.
Pacific Northwest Regional Director
Washington, D.C. – The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the nation’s oldest and largest Asian American civil and human rights organization, and OCA National (OCA) formerly the Organization of Chinese Americans, just completed the eleventh annual joint JACL/OCA DC Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. The JACL held its first DC Leadership Conference in 1983. State Farm is the sponsor for the event, and their representative, Leslie Moe-Kaiser, was on hand to participate in the four-day conference at which she presented a workshop on leadership.
Participants for the 2009 DC Leadership Conference were: Scott Chan, Jason Chang, Pearl Chin, Kelly Tuyet Dang, Megumi J. Kaminaga, Jessica Miyeko Kawamura, Nikun Khoongumjorn, Kenshin Kubo, Theodore Lau, Annie Lee, Michelle Lee, Ian Lim, Kam Liu, Linda Louie, Jacqueline Mac, Erin Hashimoto Martell, David McKnight, Lisa Miyake, Jude Nazareth, Stephanie Nitahara, Liza Normandy, Poonam Patel, Dawn Rego, Tomoko Roudebush, Suzuho (Suzy) Shimasaki, Matthew Teshima, Stan Tsai, Kayomi Wada, Zoua Xiong, Keen Yee, Suzan Yoshimura, and Jason Yu. They represented chapters throughout the United States.
Planning and execution of the Conference activities were done primarily by Pei-Un Yee and George Wu (Executive Director) of OCA National, and Floyd Mori (Executive Director), Crystal Xu, and Irene Mori of the JACL, who all agreed that the participants were outstanding. Various national experts were on hand to share their expertise in many areas of interest for the current and future leaders. Conference sessions were presented by: Phil Nash, Charmaine Manansala, Parag Mehta, Deanna Jang, Priscilla Huang, Soumary Vongrassamy, Tuyet Duong, Lisa Hasegawa, Amado Uno, Lori Aratani, Betty Lin, Lori Hamamoto, Abby Levine, Traci Hong, Angela Arboleda, Van Luong, Larry Shinagawa, Terry Ao, Wayne Kei, Michael Lieberman, Deepa Iyer, Charles Kamasaki, Richard Foltin, Hilary Shelton, Paulo Pontemayor, Kory Caro, Floyd Mori, and George Wu. Sheldon Arakaki (JACL National Board) and Duy Nguyen (OCA National Board) attended the conference and spoke to the group. Participants to the conference also had the opportunity to share their ideas and suggestions.
An outing to the National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism During World War II was one of the highlights of the conference. Participants were given a talk by Warren Minami, who told of the Japanese American experience of internment and the story of the 442/100th and the MIS which comprised the Japanese American veterans who served valiantly during World War II.
Special speakers for the meals and events were: Stuart Ishimaru, Vice Admiral Harry Harris (U.S. Navy), Stuart Ishimaru, Captain Bruce Yamashita (U.S. Marines), Franklin Odo, and Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA). Other members of Congress who took the time to meet with the group were: Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Congressman David Wu (D-OR), Congressman Ahn “Joseph” Cao (R-LA), Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam), and Congressman Gregorio Sablan (I- Northern Mariana Islands).
Washington, D.C. -- President Obama launched the White House Internship Program for his administration and announced that applications are currently being accepted for the summer of 2009. Those selected to participate in the program will gain valuable job experience and an inside look at the life of White House staff while building leadership skills.
“This program will mentor and cultivate young leaders of today and tomorrow and I’m proud that they will have this opportunity to serve,” said President Obama. “I look forward to working with those that are selected to participate and I want to commend all who apply for their desire to help through public service to forge a brighter future for our country.”
In addition to normal office duties, interns will supplement their learning experience by attending a weekly lecture series hosted by senior White House staff, help at White House social events, and volunteer in community service projects.
The 2009 Summer Internship program runs from May 22 to August 14, and the submission deadline is March 22, 2009.
Those interested in applying to the White House Internship Program must be:
• US Citizens
• Eighteen years of age on or before the first day of the internship.
• Enrolled in a college or university (2-4 year institution) or must have graduated from college in the past two years.
Interns will be placed in a departmental office for their internship. Below is a list of departments in the Office of the President and the Office of the Vice President where interns could be placed.
- White House Department of Scheduling and Advance
- The Office of Cabinet Affairs
- The White House Communications Department
- The White House Office of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs
- The Office of the First Lady
- The White House Office of Legislative Affairs (OLA)
- The Office of Political Affairs
- The Office of Management and Administration
- The Office of White House Counsel
- The Domestic Policy Council
- The White House Office of Presidential Personnel
- Office of the Vice President
Floyd Mori, National Executive Director of the JACL, will attend a White House Meeting to learn more about the White House Internship Program. More information may be forthcoming or can be found at: www.whitehouse.gov/about/internships
Los Angeles CA - The Japanese American Citizens League Pacific Southwest District (JACLPSW) announces its slate of youth leadership programs in 2009. Those programs include the following:
- Bridging Communities Program (co-sponsored with Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress) – connecting high school youth of the JA community with the Muslim community
- Mobilize for Policy 2009– educating and training collegiate youth to effect change in policy affecting the API community
- LT and Me Survey Project – a youth survey to ascertain needs and wants in the Little Tokyo Community
- Project Community 2009 – creating high school community advocates to be active in the Little Tokyo community
Each program is designed to not just train leadership but to create young community advocates in the community, civil rights and policy arenas. These programs will cumulatively train over 100 youth on advocacy issues in the community.
The 2009 PSW Programming Slate is part of a larger effort by the Japanese American Citizens League to move in a direction of leadership development while still staying true to its basic mission of promoting civil rights for our community and all other victimized by prejudice and discrimination. Developing community leaders is JACL’s proactive approach to civil rights advocacy.
The slate is designed to reach two different target ages, high school and college-aged youth. The Bridging Communities and Project Community programs are the slate’s high school components while Mobilize for Policy and the Survey Project are the collegiate components.
The Bridging Communities program will be the first ever program by JACL and Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress to bridge youth of our community with those of another community. The program will gather 40 youth for a program designed to create an understanding of different cultures, religions, and traditions. In addition to workshops, the program will take the participants to the Day of Remembrance program as well as to the 2009 Manzanar Pilgrimage.
Mobilize for Policy seeks to empower 15-20 college-aged youth with the skills and passion for advocating policy relevant to the community. Throughout a series of workshops from late January to April participants will gain a better understanding of the issues facing the Asian and Pacific Islander community as well as potential ways for them to effect change. This program serves as a part of JACL’s effort to establish more presence and effectiveness in public policy.
The LT and Me Survey Project seek to gather quantitative and qualitative data on the needs and wants of youth for the Little Tokyo community. Understanding that youth are the future to the community, this survey will help to incorporate the youth’s voice in a changing Little Tokyo.
Project: Community 2009 will build off of the previous year’s successful workshops and outcomes. Project Community seeks to develop and empower the youth’s voice in Little Tokyo. Through a series of interactive sessions, participants gain an understanding of identity as well as the importance of preservation of the Japanese American community. Each session gathers facilitators and speakers from various parts of the community to conduct interactive workshops focused on specific topics raging from identity, to the power of place, to grassroots organization on a youth level. The program will gather 15-30 high school students for an 8 week program starting late June to mid August on Tuesday evenings in Little Tokyo.
The Pacific Southwest District of JACL has many ongoing programs involving youth, community leadership and advocacy. By creating these programs JACL PSW hopes to show youth and the community the necessity of investing and developing youth into responsible, active and thoughtful community advocates.
JACL Pacific Southwest District programming is made possible with the support of various organizations and funders including: Southern California Edison, Union Bank of California, AT&T, the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program (CCLPEP), the JACL Legacy Grant Program and Japanese American Community Services.
For more information contact JACL PSW Program Coordinator Kene Kubo firstname.lastname@example.org or call 213-626-4471.
JACL ANNOUNCES MIKE
Los Angeles, CA – The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) seeks applications for the 2008-2009 Mike Honda Fellowship Program. This new fellowship will be focused on JACL’s advocacy and public policy awareness/programming, education and work on projects associated with the JACL National Youth Student Council. The fellowship is named for the Honorable Congressman Mike Honda in recognition of his lifelong commitment to public service and extensive history in working with the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. The fellowship serves to honor Congressman Honda’s commitment to Civil Rights for all Asian Pacific Americans.
The Mike Honda Fellowship is funded by a generous $25,000 grant from Southern California Edison. Edison has an extensive history of financial and volunteer support for the API community. Floyd Mori, National Director of the JACL states, “We are extremely fortunate to be partnering with SoCal Edison, a company that is sensitive to the needs of our community and understands the challenges we face.”"We are very pleased to have this opportunity to support JACL and this fellowship program to promote civic engagement and leadership development for the Japanese American community", said Wes Tanaka, SCE Public Affairs Director. " And, in naming the fellowship in honor of Congressman Honda, it is a fitting tribute in recognition of his ongoing and steadfast commitment to promote a strong voice for the API community” he said.
The Mike Honda Fellowship will be in the Los Angeles office of the JACL. The term of the fellowship will be for a 10 month period and will begin in September of 2008. Interested applicants should download the application form www.jacl.org and submit it along with a resume, cover letter, and writing sample by September 15, 2008. For questions or further information contact Craig Ishii at the JACL Pacific Southwest District Office: 213-626-4471 or email email@example.com.
Naomi Lim Selected as First Inouye Fellow
Washington D.C. -- The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) announces Naomi Lim as its first Daniel K. Inouye Fellow.
Lim will spend approximately seven months beginning in January 2008 working in the Washington, D.C. office of the JACL. She will monitor key legislative issues pertaining to health care, particularly civil rights and social justice issues related to health disparities for minorities and children and design and implement JACL-sponsored health fairs and other programming.
The fellowship is named for Daniel K. Inouye, current United States Senator from Hawaii and is sponsored by Amgen, “a leading human therapeutics company in the biotechnology industry…dedicated to helping people fight serious illness.”
Most recently, Lim worked as a Program Coordinator at the City Bar Justice Center (CBJC) of the New York City Bar Association, where she coordinated Naturalization Clinics and assisted low-income small business owners. Lim also has background experience in health care-related issues. She previously worked at the Korean Community Services Public Health Program, where she assisted clients with applications for public health insurance, as well as other health care-related issues, including managed care problems, language access at local hospitals, hospital billing issues, and health fairs, screenings, and promotions. Lim also participated in local and state advocacy campaigns regarding language access rights for Limited English Proficiency patients.
Lim attended Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology and Spanish. In addition to English and Spanish, Lim also speaks Korean proficiently. She hopes to attend law school in the fall of 2008 to learn more about law and policy issues, as well as civil rights issues, to better serve the Asian Pacific American community.
“I am excited by the opportunity to work at the JACL to contribute to its development of health care-related advocacy and programs,” says Lim. “Health care is important to all Asian Americans, and we need to make sure that our rights are well-protected and well-represented.”
San Francisco, CA. -- California State Assembly member Warren T. Furutani has introduced a bill which would complete the unfinished business of conferring honorary degrees to Japanese Americans whose college education was disrupted due to their incarceration in concentration camps during World War II. Assembly Bill 37 was heard in the Assembly Higher Education Committee at the California State Capitol this week and passed unanimously out of committee.
The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the oldest and largest Asian American civil and human rights organization in the nation, supports Assembly Bill 37 which would restore a measure of dignity and honor to a group of United States citizens who suffered greatly. The JACL feels these former students who are now mostly in their mid to late eighties deserve this recognition.
The JACL and other Asian American groups commemorated the twentieth anniversary in 2008 of the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which provided that an official Presidential apology and reparations be given to Japanese Americans who were unconstitutionally removed from their west coast homes during World War II and placed in concentration camps in desolate areas of the United States. The nation recognized that Japanese Americans were unjustly discriminated against solely because of their ethnic origin.
Larry Oda, National JACL President, stated, "JACL applauds Assembly Bill 37 and Assembly member Furutani's effort to recognize the injustice endured by these former students. It is unfortunate that anyone be prevented from completing their college education and receiving their degrees because of racism, war hysteria and ineffective political leadership; and this acknowledgement is overdue."
The University of Washington held a ceremony last year to honor Japanese American former students who were forced to leave the school in 1942. Jonathan Kaji, a former National JACL Board Member who was instrumental in having a similar program held at the University of Southern California (USC), was on hand to testify at the hearing.
National Executive Director of the JACL, Floyd Mori, who also testified at the hearing said, "The passage of Assembly Bill 37 would not only right a wrong, but it reminds us that we should never again let war hysteria and racism override the basic civil liberties and due process promised to each one of us, regardless of the color of our skin."
Others who testified were: Kiyo Sato, author and former Sacramento City College Student in 1942; Judy Sakaki, Vice President of Student Affairs, UCOP; Frederick Gaines, Chair, Department of Ethnic Studies, College of San Mateo; Carole Hayashino, Former Associate Vice President for Advancement at San Francisco State University; Walter Kawamoto, Florin JACL Chapter President; Paul Osaki, Executive Director of the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California and his associates, Ali Kagawa, Jeff Chu, and Courtney Okuhara.
February 21, 2009 marked another successful Day of Remembrance program filled with history, commemoration, youth, energy, activism, and everything else. This year's theme was "Forging Alliances: Connecting Nikkei to Current Immigration."
The program featured a commemoration of the Issei/Nisei internment experience by Professor Roger Daniels, the Charles Phelps Taft Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Cincinnati, as well as a spoken word piece by community activists and students linking current immigration & undocumented student struggles to the JA immigrant experience. In addition, the program featured our very own Kene Kubo as the program emcee as well as a second annual heart-stopping drum performance by Progressive Taiko.
San Francisco – The 59th Annual Nisei Veterans of Foreign Wars Reunion was held on February 13, 14, and 15, 2009, at the Holiday Inn in La Mirada, California. General Chairman for the reunion was Robert M. Wada of the Kazuo Masuda Memorial VFW Post 3670. Others posts which jointly hosted the reunion were: Gardena Nisei Memorial VFW Post 1961, San Fernando Valley VFW Post 4140, East Los Angeles Nisei Memorial VFW Post 9902, and Los Angeles Memorial VFW Post 9938.
Two Medal of Honor recipients were on hand at the reunion to greet friends and autograph books. George “Joe” Sakato, E Company, 442nd, was accompanied by his daughter. Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura, H Company, 7th Regiment, 3r d Division, Korea, and his wife were in attendance. The Honorable Vincent H. Okamoto, considered the most highly decorated Nisei in the Vietnam War was on hand to sell and autograph his newly published book, Wolfhound Samurai.
The reunion was well attended, but their numbers are dwindling as the World War II veterans advance in age. Many more hundreds have attended the past reunions. It was a good chance for old friends to meet and for the veterans to make new friends.
Former California State Assemblyman, Paul Bannai of Gardena, was busy visiting and taking photos. May Porter, who retired from Medivac after thirty years, was there. Harry Tanabe of Hayward and his wife visited with old friends. Norio Uyematsu, formerly of Brigham City, Utah, and his wife also attended.
Floyd Mori, National Executive Director of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and a former U.S. Army Reservist during peace time, was at the Friday Night Welcome Buffet Dinner. He stated: “It is an honor to be among such great heroes as the Nisei Veterans of Foreign Wars from World War II and later. The entire Japanese American community owes these brave individuals a debt of gratitude for all they did to make life better for all of us. The courage, sacrifice, and loyalty they exhibited during extremely difficult times of war are exemplary and admirable. They deserve our utmost respect and appreciation as do all those who currently serve in the military of this great country.”
Washington, D.C. -- The Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA) held its quarterly luncheon meeting on January 17, 2009, at the Harvest Moon Restaurant in Falls Church, Virginia. Emcee was Mike Yaguchi. Officers were installed with Robert Nakamoto retained as JAVA President for another term. Vice President is LTC Martin L. Herbert, U.S. Army (Ret). Treasurer is LTC Earl S. Takeguchi, U.S. Army (Ret), and Secretary is Col. Bruce Hollywood, U.S. Air Force (Ret). Terry Shima is the Executive Director for JAVA.
Highlighting the lunch was an awards ceremony officiated by Major General Tony Taguba, United States Army (Ret.). Six Japanese American veterans of World War II were presented with the Bronze Star. Ranger Technical Sergeant Grant J. Hirabayashi and Tech 4 Yeiichi Kuwayama were present to receive their Bronze Star awards in person. Etsu Mineta Masaoka received the Bronze Star for her late husband, Tech 4 Mike M. Masaoka. Hanako Hankie Hirose accepted the award for S/Sgt. Goro Hirose. Bina Kiyonaga accepted the Bronze Star for her late husband, 1st Lt. Joseph K. Kiyonaga. Dr. Ray Murakami accepted the award for S/Sgt. Hideyuki Noguchi.
Ranger Technical Sergeant Grant J. Hirabayashi was born in Kent, Washington, and interned in Heart Mountain, Wyoming. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps on December 4, 1941, and subsequently entered the Military Intelligence Service Language School at Camp Savage, MN, where he volunteered for Merrill’s Marauders. He served behind enemy lines in Burma and later in New Delhi, Indian, and the China theater. After his discharge in 1945, he obtained a Bachelors and Masters degree and served in various U.S. government departments, including the National Security Agency.
Tech 4 Yeiichi Kuwayama was born and raised in New York City and graduated from Princeton University. He was inducted in the U.S. Army about one year before the attack on Pearl Harbor. He volunteered for the 442nd when it was activated in 1943, and was assigned to its Medic Unit. He served as a Medic in Italy and France. He was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry, French Legion of Honor, Knight Cross of Military Valor and Combat Medic Badge. He obtained an MBA from Harvard Business School and was the U.S. General Manager for Nomura Securities and was a specialist in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and an official in the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Tech 4 Mike Masaoka, who was an early leader within the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), was born in Fresno, California, and graduated from the University of Utah where he won All American ratings as a debater. He was appointed as Executive Secretary of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) in 1941. His family was incarcerated in Manzanar. He advocated the formation of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and was first to volunteer. Four brothers also joined, one being killed in the rescue of the trapped Texas battalion in the Vosges Mountains of eastern France. Following his discharge from the Army, he served as the JACL Representative in Washington, D.C. where he worked tirelessly for many years on Japanese American issues and advocating for civil rights.
Staff Sergeant Toro Hirose was born in Los Angeles, California, and was interned at Manzanar. He was inducted in the U.S. Army on November 5, 1941, and volunteered for the 442nd. He served in five campaigns in Italy and France. He worked for a printer for 17 years and the federal government for 20 years.
1st Lieutenant Joseph K. Kiyonaga was born in Hawaii and volunteered for the 442nd. He fought in Italy and France. He attended the University of Michigan Law School and Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. He joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1949 and served in Asia and Latin America.
Staff Sergeant Hideyuki Noguchi was born near Sacramento, California, and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. His parents were interned at Tule Lake. He was interned in 1942 and volunteered for the 442. He served in Italy, in the liberation of Bruyeres and other towns including the rescue of the trapped Texas Battalion. He settled in Washington, D.C. with a career as an engineer with the Federal Communications Commission.
Washington, D.C. - The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the nation’s oldest and largest Asian American civil and human rights organization established in 1929, applauds President Bush and the Department of Interior for the naming of the Tule Lake Internment Camp Site as part of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.
On February 19, 1942, the United States government, mandated by Executive Order 9066 signed by
President Franklin D. Roosevelt, opened internment camps for the exclusion and detention of 120,000
persons of Japanese Ancestry who were mostly U.S. Citizens but deemed to be potential enemies of
America. Tule Lake was the largest and most controversial of the ten War Relocation Authority
Camps. Opening on May 26, 1942, Tule Lake had a peak population of 18,700. The camp housed
some of those most vocal in protest of the unjust incarceration. On March 28, 1946, it was the last of
the camps to close.
In the 1970’s, the JACL and other groups began a Redress Movement to right the egregious wrong of the internment. After many years of campaigning, the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 was passed by Congress. The Act offered an official apology from the President of the United States (then President Ronald Reagan) and monetary reparations for Japanese Americans who were forcibly removed from their West Coast homes in 1942. This year the JACL and others have commemorated the 20th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Liberties Act.
Floyd Mori, National Executive Director of the JACL, stated: “Naming Tule Lake as part of this National Monument, the second internment site to be so designated, underscores the importance of the lessons learned through the sacrifice of so many people during World War II. Internment was a watermark in history that shows the human frailty of the Constitution. Japanese Americans who were incarcerated showed valor in enduring the internment.”
It is meaningful to the JACL that the Tule Lake Internment Camp site is included as part of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. The JACL has worked closely with the Department of Interior, including the Fish, Wild Life and Parks Department and the National Parks Service, The Conservation Fund, The Tule Lake Committee, and others in helping to develop this designation. The JACL thanks the White House for its consideration of Tule Lake and the JACL.
JACL National President Larry Oda stated that “the World War II experience of Japanese Americans should not be forgotten. Our Constitutional rights were illegally suspended during World War II because of racial prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership. Having Tule Lake as part of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument should serve as a reminder to future generations that this unjust action did occur, it was wrong, and it should not ever be allowed to happen again.”
Washington, D.C. -- The National Japanese American Memorial Foundation (NJAMF) held a ceremony at the nation's capitol to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which brought redress in the form of an apology and reparations to members of the Japanese American community who were wrongfully interned during World War II. The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) voted at its National JACL Convention in 1978 to undertake the movement to secure Redress. Many leaders within the JACL worked very hard during the 1970's and 1980's on the Redress Movement.
Craig Uchida, chairman of the NJAMF board and past president of the Washington, D.C. JACL Chapter, whose father and family were taken from their home in Pasadena to the internment camp at Gila River during the war, was in charge of the event. He acknowledged the work of Gerald Yamada, executive director of the NJAMF, and the volunteers. He introduced members of Congress and NJAMF board members who were present.
Several of the key players in the Redress effort from Congress were present and spoke at the event. Congressman Mike Honda (San Jose) introduced Doris Matsui (Sacramento) and Norman Mineta, who was the Congressman from the San Jose area when the Redress Movement was taking place. Congresswoman Matsui, who was born at Poston, spoke of her late husband Bob Matsui's involvement while he was a member of Congress and also spoke of her father's writings of that period in history. She stated that it is important to have physical, tangible evidence such as the Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism and to have such occasions as the ceremony to remember the injustices suffered and the lessons learned. Secretary Mineta recalled the experience of leaving for camp in his Cub Scout uniform and paid tribute to some of his other former colleagues who helped in the Redress effort such as Alan Simpson, Don Edwards, Barney Frank, and Henry Hyde.
Senator Daniel Inouye, the third most ranking member of the U.S. Senate who was a major force in the Redress movement, along with his colleague, the late Spark Matsunaga, spoke to the group. He relayed the story of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and 100th Battalion from Hawaii as the Japanese American soldiers from Hawaii first learned of the internment camp experience suffered by the mainland Japanese Americans by visiting the camps at Rohrer and Jerome in Arkansas.
Senator Ben Cardin of Virginia talked of being a newly elected congressman when he became a co-sponsor on the Redress bill after being visited by Bob Matsue. He stated, "It was the right thing to do." Congresswoman Shelley Berkley from Las Vegas stopped by and said that she felt this was an important ceremony to commemorate the travesty and disgrace suffered by Japanese Americans and the bright spot which came after that dark spot in the nation's history.
On hand were members of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), whose resolution in 1978 initiated and unified the Redress movement, including Floyd Mori, National Executive Director, and Washington, D.C. chapter president, Ayame Nagatani, who works in Congressman Honda's office. Members of the Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA), including Bob Nakamoto, President, and Terry Shima, Executive Director, were also present as were representatives of the Embassy of Japan as well as other organizations and groups.
Washington, D.C. - The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the nation's oldest and largest Asian American civil and human rights organization, applauds the passage of The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act which is now on its way to President Obama for his signature. The purpose of this bill is to improve national service programs and increase levels of volunteerism which could help to alleviate some of the economic challenges facing the nation. The bi-partisan votes in Congress demonstrate a strong commitment and vision to engage Americans in voluntary service to community and country.
The Generations Invigorating Education (GIVE) Act was passed by the United States House of Representatives by a roll call vote of 321 to 105 earlier in the month. The Senate Bill which mirrors GIVE, was approved unanimously by the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. The bill, later renamed in honor of Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) for his lifelong commitment and personal service given to the nation, passed the Senate on March 26 by a bipartisan vote of 79-19. The House approved the Senate amendments by a bipartisan vote of 275-149 on March 31, 2009.
The JACL extends special gratitude to Senators Kennedy, Hatch, Mikulski, and Enzi along with Representatives Miller, McKeon, McCarthy, and Platts for their leadership and hard work to bring about bipartisan support of The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. This bill ultimately helps nonprofit organizations such as the JACL by encouraging volunteers to provide needed human capital for their projects and programs.
National JACL President, Larry Oda, commented on the legislation. "As a volunteer organization, the JACL fully supports this legislation because it serves to increase volunteerism and social innovation to address the most pressing challenges of our society."
Floyd Mori, National Executive Director of the JACL, who attended the Service Nation Conference in New York in the fall of 2008, stated, "Service is a core value of the Asian American community. We are extremely happy to see this bill move through the legislative process. The members of the JACL have great capacity to serve, and this bill will help our organization to be more effective in gathering talent to serve the needs of the community. The JACL has supported the concept embodied in this legislation from its inception, and we give thanks to all those involved in its passage."
Washington, D.C. -- The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the nation's oldest and largest Asian American civil and human rights organization, thanks the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives for the passage of the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009 (H.R.146), which will help conserve some of the most important historic and natural resources in the country.
Of special significance to the JACL is that H.R.146 authorizes the National Park Service to conduct a special resource study of the Tule Lake Segregation Center in Northern California, which was the largest and longest running of the ten concentration camps which housed people of Japanese ancestry who were removed from their west coast homes during World War II.
The bipartisan Tule Lake legislation was sponsored by U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) along with Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Patty Murray (D-WA). Former Representative John Doolittle (R-CA) introduced companion House legislation in 2007 that was co-sponsored by Representatives Mike Honda (D-CA), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Jay Inslee (D-WA), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI). It is expected that H.R.146 will soon be signed by the President.
In December of 2008, President Bush designated Tule Lake as part of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. The JACL worked with the White House and the Department of Interior to conserve the Tule Lake site as part of the National Monument.
National JACL President, Larry Oda, stated, "The American Concentration Camps, such as Tule Lake, are part of the mosaic that tells the story of America - and now, thanks to Congress, we have legislation that will help to conserve these important historic resources."
Floyd Mori, National Executive Director of the JACL, added: "The JACL has worked closely with several congressional offices regarding legislation on the camps and is particularly grateful to Senator Feinstein, Senator Inouye, and others for their commitment to this specific project. This will be the first step in planning for a permanent educational facility at the Tule Lake Camp Site."
The JACL has worked in close partnership with the California-based Tule Lake Committee and The Conservation Fund of Arlington, Virginia, on this and other camp preservation projects.
Washington, D.C. – The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the nation’s oldest and largest Asian American civil and human rights organization, joins with many others in applauding President Obama for signing the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP which was formerly SCHIP) Bill and expresses appreciation to all those in Congress who worked hard for its passage.
CHIP provides for federal matching funds to states to provide health insurance for children from families which do not qualify for Medicaid but who cannot afford private medical insurance. The reauthorizing and expanding of this program will benefit millions of children. The bill, which Congress sent to the President to sign, includes the Immigrant Children’s Health Improvement Act (ICHIA), extends coverage to low-income, lawful residing pregnant women and immigrant children.
Floyd Mori, National Executive Director of the JACL, attended the White House signing ceremony along with many proponents of the Bill. He stated: “The JACL is happy to see President Obama sign this important piece of legislation which will benefit many people. The CHIP Bill being signed into law will ensure adequate healthcare for some of the most vulnerable of our nation’s population. We commend all those who were instrumental in bringing about the passage of the CHIP bill.”
The Asian Pacific American (APA) community includes a large percentage of legal immigrants who do not have access to health insurance. National JACL President Larry Oda said, “The JACL feels that the signing into law of the CHIP bill is a step toward healthcare reform by providing help to millions of deserving people. Making healthcare coverage available to those who need it most through CHIP is a step in the right direction.”
Washington, D.C.—The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the nation's oldest and largest Asian American civil and human rights organization, congratulates Stuart J. Ishimaru on being named as the Acting Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) by the Administration. Mr. Ishimaru has been a Commissioner of the U.S. EEOC since 2003 and was re-nominated by President George W. Bush for a second term and confirmed by the U.S Senate in 2007.
Floyd Mori, National Executive Director of the JACL commended the appointment by saying, “Stuart Ishimaru is the right choice to be Acting Chairman of the EEOC. His long work in the civil rights arena not only qualifies him for the job but assures that the agency will enforce equal employment statutes and provide for a fair and equal playing field for all employees. He will provide the continuity needed for a smooth transition. We are proud of the role model he has been for the Japanese American community and will continue to support him to become the permanent Chairman of the EEOC.”
Mr. Ishimaru, a long-time member of the JACL, is a native of San Jose, California, and received a BA in Political Science and Economics from the University of California, Berkeley (1980) and received a law degree from George Washington University (1983). He has many years of federal and community service in the field of civil rights and has served in various capacities: research assistant to U.S. Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (1981); assistant to the director at the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (1982-83); graduate course instructor in Equal Employment Opportunity at American University; assistant counsel to Committee on the Judiciary (1984-91) and professional staff to Committee on Armed Services (1991-93) for the U.S. House of Representatives; acting staff director for U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (1993-94); counsel to Assistant Attorney General (1994-99) and Deputy Assistant Attorney General (1999-2001) in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
The JACL encourages all of its members and the Asian American community at large to continue to support and advocate for Stuart Ishimaru to be named the permanent EEOC chair.
Washington, D.C. -- The notion that Japanese Americans (JA’s) can play a role in U.S./Japan relations has been a topic of
discussion over the past several years with a number of prominent JA’s. This past weekend while Japan
Consuls General to the United States gathered together, some 35 JA’s met to develop an “action plan” to
establish a more formal role in organized efforts to maintain the amiable relationship between the two
nations. This notion has been addressed over recent years, as each year a delegation of Japanese
American leaders has been invited by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on an educational tour of Japan, which has included meetings with leaders in government and business. The 2009 delegation will depart for Japan in March.
This past week’s gathering in Washington D.C. is the fifth such conference that has been held. Sessions included separate strategy meetings and additional joint meetings between the Consul Generals, Japanese business executives, and the Japanese American group. In the past the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) has been the U.S. administrative counterpart to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is anticipated that a new nonprofit entity will be created in the U.S. to administer and oversee the future work of this initiative. Irene Hirano and Hideki Hamamoto have been the informal leaders of the U.S. group. While the group includes many of the Japanese Leadership Delegation (JLD) alumni, other prominent regional leaders in the JA community have been participating in the ongoing discussions. Each of the fifteen Consul Generals identified one or more JA participants to attend this conference.
The major intent of the joint meetings has been to foster better U.S./Japan relationships through a network
of Japanese and Japanese American interaction. Local business networking, regional collaboration of
interest groups, and exchange of information over the internet were the approaches that were discussed.
There was discussion on how to broaden the Japan Leadership Delegation process and make it more transparent to the community. The significance of this series of meetings is underscored by the attendance and participation of Senator Daniel K. Inouye and Japan’s Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki. Senator Inouye has expressed over the years the need for the Japanese to become better informed on the policy issues and the processes to which there are Japanese Americans who can play a role in two way educational dialog. Ambassador Fujisaki, who was recently appointed to his post in Washington, D.C., has placed a high priority on a strong interaction with the Japanese American community.
Floyd Mori, the National Executive Director of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), also
participated in the meetings. Mori, who was involved in the business sector of U.S./Japan relations for 25
years, also supported the need for continued and close relations with Japanese counterparts in business
and government. He stated that, “The common cultural values that we all possess are bound to assist us
in finding better solutions to problems that arise between the two nations. This effort to involve ourselves
in U.S./Japan relations is important to both nations.”
Washington, DC -- JACL national director Floyd Mori was among a number of dignitaries invited by the transition team to attend President-Elect Barack Obama’s economic stimulus speech on January 8 at George Mason University. Obama unveiled details of his economic plan to the gathering of a few hundred people, including the media.
Mori reported that Obama’s speech focused on the need for urgency and immediate action. Obama discussed his economic stimulus plan, which Mori described as a “mixture of New Deal with trappings of new-age ecological needs.” Mori further noted that “the challenge is for Congress to come up with a package that ends the culture of anything goes and replace it with some thoughtful rebuilding, retrofitting and rejuvenating.”
Washington D.C.—Obama Transition Team members met with national Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) leaders to discuss the process of appointments and to hear of policy issues that the AAPI community would be pressing with the new Administration. Transition chair, Chris Lu, and other key team members briefed the group on the desire of the Administration to reflect the diverse nature of the nation while simultaneously bringing the most talented people together to run the various agencies of the Federal government.
Floyd Mori, National Executive Director of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and Chair of National Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), thanked the Transition Team for its efforts to diversify the new Administration and urged them to tap the deep pool of talent in the AAPI community to fill out key White House posts as well as sub-cabinet level managers in each of the agencies.
Organizational members of the NCAPA, including the JACL, articulated key issues that are of concern to the AAPI community. Renewing the White House Initiative on Asian and Pacific Americans, language access, comprehensive immigration reform, dis-aggregation of ethnic data, post-9/11 eroding of civil rights, limited English proficiency and the lack of access to health insurance were among the issues that were emphasized by the coalition.
Mori stated, "We were extremely happy with the transparency in the transition process and the willingness of the Team to hear our priorities as the new Administration and congress begins their work. The fact that the chair of the Transition and other key members of the Team have their roots in the AAPI community and have shown a great sensitivity to our needs, causes us to be optimistic about shedding the veil of invisibility that we have experienced in the past. The AAPI community intends to be a positive and productive participant in the new Administration."
NCAPA is a national coalition of AAPI organizations that work to enhance the equality and opportunity of that community and to assure that human and civil rights are maintained as outlined in the Constitution. NCAPA platform publication, Call to Action: 2008, provided the foundation for the Obama-Biden Blueprint for the Change We Need for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. NCAPA has worked with the Transition Team's liaison, Parag Mehta, who chaired the meeting.
Washington, D.C. -- Leaders in a coalition of Asian American and Pacific Islander advocacy organizations met this week with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to air their legislative priorities that are presently before Congress. The leaders of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) were invited to the Capitol to meet with the Speaker to review what member organizations see as the top priority issues that they would like to see moving through Congress. The key issues centered around fairness and equal justice and focused specifically on Filipino World War II Veterans’ rights, immigration, the foreclosure problem, and health care disparities.
NCAPA Chairman, Floyd Mori, praised Speaker Pelosi for taking the time to meet with the coalition. “While the Asian American and Pacific Islander community has often been invisible to policy makers, we found the Speaker not only open to discussion but very much aware of the issues which we face. We all were pleased with her commitment to work on our issues and help to make them more visible to other members of congress.”
Other NCAPA members who joined the meeting were: Vincent Eng, Deputy Director of the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC); Nou Vang, Executive Director of Hmong National Development (HND); Lisa Hasegawa, Executive Director of National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD); Pricilla Huang, Policy and Program Director of National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF); Deepa Iyer, Executive Director of South Asian American Leading Together (SAALT); and Sookung Oh, Immigration Project Coordinator for National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC). Irene Bueno, a policy consultant, also participated in the meeting. Mori is also the National Executive Director of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL).
Washington D.C. -- President Bush signed into law this week a bill which includes expansion of the Minidoka Internment Camp in Idaho, one of the camps used to house Japanese Americans during World War II. The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), along with other groups, has been working to have this bill passed and is very pleased with this outcome.
S. 2739 is an Omnibus Parks Bill, a far reaching bill which, among others things,"..."expands several national parks..."
Wording within the bill states: "Adjusts the boundary of the Minidoka National Monument to include the Nidoto Nai Yoni Memorial commemorating the Japanese Americans of Bainbridge Island, Washington, who were the first to be forcibly removed from their homes and relocated to internment camps during World War II."
The legislative language, included in a land management package, could aid human rights efforts to expand private development at the Minidoka Site.
The JACL commends all those who worked on passage of this bill. Floyd Mori, National Executive Director of the JACL, and Larry Oda, National JACL President, expressed appreciation for the members of Congress who were instrumental in its passage with particular note of the efforts of Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Larry Craig and Idaho Representative Mike Simpson as well as Washington Senator Maria Cantwell andWashington Representatives Jay Inslee and Jim McDermott. Dan Sakura, Vice President for Government Relations and Director of Real Estate for The Conservation Fund, as well as other individuals and groups, worked hard to get the bill passed.
JACL Participates in White House Ceremony
Washington, D.C. - Leaders and members of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) participated in a White House ceremony held on May 1, 2008, where President George W. Bush issued a proclamation declaring the Month of May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. The proclamation stated that “Americans who trace their ancestry to Asia and the Pacific Islands have contributed much to our Nation.” Asian Pacific American (APA) Heritage Month was designated by Public Law 102-450 by the Congress to be held during the Month of May each year to honor the achievements and contributions of APAs.
Prominent member of the APA community and an author of Public Law 102-450, the Honorable Norman Y. Mineta, former Secretary of Transportation and long time JACL member and supporter, The Honorable Elaine Chow, Secretary of Labor, and Congressman David Wu (D-OR) were recognized for their leadership and work within the Asian Pacific American Community.
Many leaders of various organizations within the APA community were present including: Floyd Mori, National Executive Director of the JACL; Gerald Yamada, Executive Director of the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation; Hideki Hamamoto, on the Board of Governors for the Japanese American National Museum (JANM); Clayton Fong, Executive Director of the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging; Terry Shima, Executive Director of the Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA); and Bob Nakamoto, President of JAVA; among others.
The highlight of the program was when President Bush recognized Japanese American veterans of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team / 100th Battalion and the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) for their valor in spite of the prejudices they faced in their communities. The veterans who were seated in the front row responded by standing and saluting the President. President Bush singled out and commended Ben Kuroki, a World War II hero and one of the few Japanese Americans allowed to join the U.S. Air Force during World War II. Kuroki flew 58 missions in both Europe and over the Pacific.
Floyd Mori, National Executive Director of the JACL, said of the ceremony: “Asian American pride was felt by all during the emotional part of the program when the Japanese American veterans were extolled by President Bush for their courage, patriotism, and bravery in spite of many enlisting from behind barbed wire of concentration camps into which their families were forced to live during World War II.”
Press Release from the office of Senator Daniel Akaka for your information:
SENATE PASSES VETERANS BENEFITS ENHANCEMENT ACT OF 2007
A comprehensive bill which expands support for disabled veterans, job training, and provides historic Filipino veterans equity.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, elatedly applauded his colleagues in the Senate for passing S. 1315, the Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007 by a vote of 96 to 1. Prior to voting on final passage of the bill, the Senate debated an amendment to remove a provision providing a limited pension for Filipino World War II veterans residing in the Philippines. This amendment was defeated by a vote of 56 to 41, with Akaka leading the charge for the Filipino veterans' pension.
"The Filipino veterans of World War II fought bravely under U.S. military command, helping us win the war only to lose their veteran status by an Act of Congress. I commend my colleagues for supporting those veterans who stood with us," said Akaka.
Akaka continued, "I am also very pleased that the Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007 can finally move forward. This bill makes needed improvements to veterans' benefits by expanding and increasing support for veterans, their families, and their survivors. I urge my colleagues in the House to act swiftly on this much needed bill."
This comprehensive, budget-neutral omnibus veterans' benefits bill was approved by the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs last June and reported to the full Senate last August. The Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007 would provide a veterans' pension to Filipino veterans of World War II residing in the U.S. and in the Philippines. Under the proposed bill, veterans residing in the Philippines would receive a smaller pension than those residing in the U.S., to account for differences in cost-of-living in the two countries.
The Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007 also includes a multitude of improvements to veterans' benefits, including provisions to: Establish a new program of insurance for serviceconnected disabled veterans; Expand eligibility for retroactive benefits from traumatic injury protection coverage under Service members' Group Life Insurance; Increase the maximum amount of Veterans' Mortgage Life Insurance that a service-connected disabled veteran may purchase; Provide individuals with severe burn injuries specially adapted housing benefits; and Extend for two years the monthly educational assistance allowance for apprenticeship or other on-the-job training.
The bill now moves to the House of Representatives.
Washington, D.C. – The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and OCA National (OCA) jointly hosted a reception to welcome Tina Tchen, Director of Public Liaison for the White House, to the nation’s capital. The reception, which was well attended by many representatives of the Asian Pacific American (APA) community, was held at the OCA National Center on March 2, 2009.
Floyd Mori, National Executive Director of the JACL, and George Wu, OCA’s Executive Director, welcomed everyone and introduced Tina Tchen, who spoke to the group. She stated that the White House is anxious to be more extending and more inclusion. Her office wants to reach the community and stay in touch with APA’s. She is looking forward to a long and prosperous relationship.
With the recovery passed, the administration is now working on the budget. She stressed that the President’s agenda is hard but very important. She said the only way to get the agenda passed is to use the power of individual people. Her office would like to hear about the recovery success stories as they happen, such as about homes saved or jobs acquired. She wants anyone with a success story to share it with her office.
Ms. Tchen is a prominent Chicago lawyer who has been appointed to run the Office of Public Liaison for the White House. She reports to Valerie Jarrett, who is one of the three senior advisors along with David Axelrod and Peter Rouse to President Barack Obama. Ms. Tchen was a law partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom where she had worked since 1985. She has done extensive pro bono work and has served on numerous Chicago boards. She is a member of the OCA and is anxious to work with the larger APA community.
Prior to the reception, Ms. Tchen met with a group of the executive directors or CEO’s of many of the Asian Pacific American (APA) groups which are members of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), of which Mori is the current Chairman and Wu is the Treasurer. NCAPA, which was founded in 1996 and is based in Washington, D.C. is a coalition of over two dozen APA organizations from around the country. Ms. Tchen was accompanied by Yosi Sargent from her office. Guests at the meeting were Irene Natividad of Globe Women, Inc. and Mark Perriello of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel.
The appointment of Tina Tchen and the new APA cabinet members helps to ensure that APA’s will be at the decision making table.
Washington, D.C. – The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), which is the nation’s oldest and largest Asian American civil and human rights organization, is pleased to lend its support to the nomination by President Barack Obama of Gary Locke to become the United States Secretary of Commerce. The JACL urges the Senate to quickly confirm Gary Locke for this position on the President’s Cabinet.
As a former Governor of the State of Washington, Gary Locke has worked very hard for his constituents over the years. A third generation American of Chinese ancestry, he has worked well with the Asian American community and has supported the causes of Asian Americans and all Americans. He has helped to further civil and human rights in this country, and he knows the importance of the Commerce Department in bringing about economic recovery for this nation and the world.
National President of the JACL, Larry Oda, stated: “The JACL is very pleased that Gary Locke has been nominated to become the Secretary of Commerce. He is well qualified and will be a great asset to the President’s Cabinet.”
As the first Chinese-American elected to become governor of any state within the United States, Gary Locke has been a role model for other Asian Americans. He is a respected attorney within the State of Washington and has been a leader in many capacities.”
Floyd Mori, National Executive Director of the JACL, added his endorsement of Gary Locke. “Gary Locke has been a great example to the Asian Pacific American community. We endorse his candidacy and encourage a swift approval for Gary Locke to fill the important position of the United States Secretary of Commerce.”
Washington, D.C.—The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the nation's oldest and largest Asian American civil and human rights organization, fully supports Tammy Duckworth’s nomination by President Obama to serve as the assistant secretary of public and intergovernmental affairs at the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee is hoping to hold a confirmation hearing in late February to confirm Duckworth’s nomination.
Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran, has most recently served as the Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs for Illinois. Duckworth’s experience in our military epitomizes the sacrifices many of our soldiers make for national security. In 2004, while serving as a captain in the Illinois National Guard as an assistant operations officer for an aviation task force, her helicopter was struck by a grenade and Duckworth lost both her legs and partial use of one arm.
She has channeled her energies into ensuring that veterans and disabled veterans have an improved way of life upon returning home. She has helped start many state programs that give tax credits to employers who hire veterans, granted more funding for service organizations, and bolsters below-market rate home mortgages for veterans as well. Her very public positions on major policy issues such as health care, education, immigration, and foreign policy are evidence of her dedication to the same values President Obama holds close. Duckworth has a passion and commitment that parallels the President’s and would be a great asset to the incoming Administration.
Floyd Mori, the National Executive Director of the JACL commended the nomination by saying, “Ms. Duckworth is the right choice because she is not only capable but has an extreme passion for making sure that those who put their life on the line for this country are not neglected or forgotten. She is a role model for not only the Asian American Community but for all of those who are faced with physical disabilities.”
If confirmed, Duckworth will focus on public relations response as well as strategies. She will also oversee internal communications as well as intergovernmental relations, programs for homeless veterans, and consumer affairs amongst many other duties.
The JACL fully supports President Obama’s nomination of Tammy Duckworth to serve as an assistant secretary with the VA and urges all individuals and organizations to voice that support to the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.
Washington, D.C. -- The National Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), a coalition of Asian Pacific American organizations, commends the Obama Team for their selection of Steven Chu, a distinguished physicist, as the nominee to become the next Energy Secretary.
Born in Missouri of immigrant parents from China, Mr. Chu, currently on leave from Stanford University, is the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory where he has been on a mission to have the Laboratory become the world leader in alternative and renewable energy research. He was the recipient of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics.
Dr. Chu received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester and his doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley. He is from a family of high achievers where his siblings and cousins hold advanced degrees. His parents came to the United States in the 1940s during a time of turmoil in China.
Floyd Mori, National Executive Director of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and current Chair of NCAPA, stated: “Dr. Chu is an excellent choice for the Secretary of Energy. We are enthused at this nomination and offer wholehearted support for the confirmation of Dr. Chu.”
Washington, D.C. – Members of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the nation’s oldest and largest Asian American civil and human rights organization, are elated to hear that President-elect Barack Obama nominated Retired Army General Eric K. Shinseki as Secretary of Veterans Affairs on the Obama Cabinet. The JACL applauds the President-elect for his selection of General Shinseki, a Japanese American native of Hawaii, and former Army Chief of Staff.
A graduate of West Point, General Shinseki served two combat tours in Vietnam, where he was awarded two Purple Hearts and three Bronze Stars. After serving as the 34th Chief of Staff of the United States Army from 1999 to 2003, General Shinseki is the nominee to become the 7th United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs. He is the first Asian American to become a four-star general in the U.S. Army and the first to lead one of the five U.S. military services. He was an innovative leader of the Army.
General Shinseki retired in June 2003 after 38 years in the Army. He was said to be forced out of his job as Army Chief of Staff after testifying to Congress that a much larger U.S. force would be required in Iraq than the Bush Administration expected. He was one of only a few generals willing to stand up to then Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld.
In naming General Shinseki as the nominee, President-elect Obama noted that General Shinseki won the respect and admiration of our service people because they have always been his highest priority. He is a man of principle and integrity. He has a great sense of duty and commitment to the veterans.
General Shinseki has been active as the spokesman for the Go For Broke Foundation and remains active in the Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA). Only two weeks ago he was the featured speaker at a Japanese American Veterans gathering in Los Angeles, California.
Floyd Mori, National Executive Director of the JACL, stated: “As a decorated soldier and officer in the U.S. Army, General Shinseki is especially qualified to become Secretary of Veterans Affairs. The JACL is happy to see such a respected American of Japanese descent be given this opportunity to continue his leadership abilities in President-elect Obama’s cabinet. His commitment to the Asian American community is noteworthy. He will be an outstanding addition to the cabinet.”
National JACL President Larry Oda agreed that General Shinseki is an excellent choice for Secretary of Veterans Affairs. He is a great role model for Asian American young people as well as for all Americans.
Washington, D.C. -- The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the nation’s oldest and largest Asian American civil and human rights organization, congratulates Ahn Joseph Cao on his great victory in being elected to the United States House of Representatives as the first Vietnamese American to serve as a Member of Congress. The 41 year old community organizer and GOP attorney will represent Louisiana’s Second District which is a heavily black and Democratic district.
Cao was born in Vietnam and came to the United States as a child of eight in the 1975 evacuation of Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City). His father was an Army officer of South Vietnam and was imprisoned by the Communists which left his mother to raise the five remaining children alone. The family settled in Houston, Texas.
The new Representative received a law degree from Loyola University and has his own law practice in New Orleans. He, his wife, and two children fled their home in New Orleans in August 2005 as Hurricane Katrina was approaching. Virtually everything he possessed was destroyed by Katrina. He was determined to rebuild his home and his law office which he did.
He ran as an independent for the State House of Representatives in 2007 and carried Orleans Parish. In 2008 he was elected as an at-large delegate to the Republican National Convention. He has been an involved volunteer in rebuilding greater New Orleans.
Floyd Mori, National Executive Director of the JACL, stated, “This is a giant step forward for the Vietnamese American community and for all Asian Americans. We commend Joseph Cao for this great accomplishment and wish him much success as he begins this new phase in his life of service to his community and the nation.”
Washington, D.C. -- The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and the National Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) express deep sadness at the untimely passing of William “Mo” Marumoto, President and CEO of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS). Mr. Marumoto suffered a heart attack on November 25, 2008, and passed away shortly thereafter.
Mr. Marumoto was a Century Club Life Member of the JACL and was a member of NCAPA. Before accepting the position as President and CEO of APAICS, he was on their board for years and has served on many boards, including the Japanese American National Museum, the National Asian Pacific Center in Aging, and the Asian Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund. He has had a distinguished career which spans more than four decades in the public and private sector as well as in the academic arena. He has received numerous awards, including from the JACL.
He retired from The Interface Group, Ltd., an executive search firm which he founded in 1973 based Washington, D.C. and of which he was the Chairman and CEO. He was the first Asian Pacific American ever to serve at the executive level at the White House, having spent three years in the Nixon White House as a Presidential aide responsible for recruiting for Cabinet and Sub-Cabinet positions. He was also Assistant to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
The son of Japanese immigrants, Mo Marumoto and his family spent three years with other Japanese Americans in the relocation camp in Gila River, Arizona, during World War II. He later graduated from Santa Ana High School where he was Student Body President, and he graduated from Whittier College.
Floyd Mori, National Director of the JACL and Chair of NCAPA stated: “Mo was a generous person who gave much to the Asian American community as well as to the country. He has been a remarkable leader in many capacities and for many years. It has been a privilege to become friends with him. We appreciate the sacrifices which he and his family have made to benefit the lives of others. Our deepest sympathies go out to his wife and family at this time of such a huge loss. He will be greatly missed.”
San Francisco -- The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the nation’s oldest and largest Asian American civil and human rights organization, commends the Seattle Mariners Baseball organization for its hiring of Don Wakamatsu as manager for the Mariners and as the first American of Asian ancestry to become a manager in major league baseball.
As the JACL this year commemorates the signing of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, the Redress Bill which provided for reparations and a Presidential apology to thousands of Japanese Americans who were wrongfully incarcerated in concentration camps in remote areas of the United States during World War II, this hiring is meaningful in showing that diversity is becoming more accepted in major league baseball and other areas. The discrimination and prejudice which caused Japanese Americans to be interned should be eliminated.
The 45 year old Wakamatsu was born in Hood River, Oregon. He graduated from Hayward High School in Hayward, California, in 1981, lettering in baseball, basketball, and football. He lettered four seasons at Arizona State University and earned All-Pacific 10 Conference honors in each of his final three seasons in college. Wakamatsu’s professional playing career spanned twelve seasons (1985-96). He played in 18 major league games with the Chicago White Sox in 1991.
He spent three seasons in the Los Angeles Angels organization and has managerial experience on the minor league level. He has been a big league coach since 2003 and a bench coach (equivalent to the position of an assistant head coach) through five major league seasons with the Texas Rangers and with the Oakland A’s.
Floyd Mori, National Executive Director of the JACL, stated: “This is a major milestone for major league baseball and for the Asian American community. We congratulate Mr. Wakamatsu for his success in the field of baseball. He is a good role model and example to aspiring, young Asian Americans as they pursue their dreams. We wish him well as he undertakes this big responsibility, and we commend the Seattle Mariners organization for their hiring of Don Wakamatsu as manager.”
Washington, D.C. – The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the nation’s oldest and largest Asian American civil and human rights organization which was established in 1929, congratulates United States Representative Xavier Becerra on his election as Vice-Chair of the House Democratic Caucus. Representative Becerra becomes the fifth ranking Democrat in the House with this position as Vice Chair.
Representative Becerra has served the public for more than two decades. He became a member of Congress in 1992 after serving one term in the California State Assembly. He has worked diligently to benefit families, to combat poverty, and to improve the Social Security program. He has been an outstanding representative and voice for the Latino community and other ethnic minorities.
Floyd Mori, National Executive Director of the JACL, stated: “Representative Becerra has long been a friend to the JACL and the Japanese American community. He has been a strong advocate for our issues and causes, including the Japanese Latin Americans. He is a friend to all ethnic minorities and works hard for all people. It is with great pleasure that we join with many others in offering our congratulations to Xavier Becerra for this high position within the House of Representatives and the Democratic Party Leadership.”
National JACL President Larry Oda echoed the praises of Congressman Becerra who deserves every honor and will do a great job.
Washington, D.C. – The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the nation’s oldest and largest Asian American civil and human rights organization, heartily congratulates United States Senator Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) on his appointment as Chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.
As a respected United States Senator from Hawaii and an honored veteran of World War II, Daniel Inouye has long been an outstanding example for the JACL and Japanese Americans everywhere. He has diligently served our country and is now the third in seniority in the United States Senate.
Floyd Mori, National Executive Director of the JACL, stated: “I had the honor of first meeting Senator Inouye back in 1959 on a street in Hilo, Hawaii, when he was campaigning for Congress. He has been a role model to me ever since. It has been my privilege to get to know him better in more recent years. We thank him as he continues his tireless service to our community and the nation.”
When Hawaii became a state on August 21, 1959, Daniel Inouye won election to the United States House of Representatives as the new state’s first Congressman. He was reelected to a full term in 1960 and was elected to the United States Senate in 1962, serving consecutively since that time.
In his capacity as a United States Senator, Daniel Inouye has been a true friend to the JACL, to Japanese Americans, to other ethnic minorities, and to all in the nation. He was instrumental in helping to bring out Redress for Japanese Americans who were interned in concentration camps within the United States during World War II.
Senator Inouye has been honored by the JACL on several occasions, including last year when he received an award as a True Champion at the inaugural National JACL Gala held in Washington, D.C. Senator Inouye served as the honorary chair of this year’s JACL Gala.
The JACL also commends and thanks Senator Robert Byrd for his dedicated service to the nation as he has served on the Senate Appropriations Committee for fifty years and as chairman for the past ten years. His outstanding service has been a great example to all.
Washington, D.C. – The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the nation’s oldest and largest Asian American civil and human rights organization, congratulates Senator Barack Obama on his successful election to become the 44th President of the United States of America. President-Elect Obama and his team ran a very impressive campaign.
The election of Senator Obama brings ethnic minorities a step closer to the time when all people can be looked upon as equals. Although it is unlikely that discrimination and prejudice will ever be completely erased from the earth, Senator Obama’s victory is seen as a literal miracle by many. The United States of America is a multi-cultural nation as evidenced by the outcome of this election.
As an important part of the Japanese American history includes the unjust incarceration of over 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II due to racial discrimination, the election of Senator Obama is significant in helping to reiterate that all persons should be treated fairly and equitably. It is time to bring an end to discrimination against people due to the color of their skin or the way they look.
The JACL also acknowledges and thanks Senator John McCain for his many years of dedicated service to this country in various areas of endeavor. He has already given much for all of us. His willingness to continue to serve by running for the nation’s highest office is extremely commendable.
JACL Saddened at Passing of Edwin Endow
San Francisco, CA -- Members and friends within the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL)
were saddened to learn of the passing of Edwin Endow, JACL leader from Stockton, California, on
October 25, 2008.
Edwin served as Stockton JACL Chapter President and Northern California-Western Nevada-Pacific District (NCWNP) Membership Chair. He was elected as National JACL Vice President for Thousand Club, Membership and Services at the National JACL Convention in 2004. He was re-elected to a second two-year term in 2006. He was a recipient of the JACL Sapphire Pin for his years of dedicated service to the JACL. It became necessary early this year for Edwin to resign from the National Board after being diagnosed with cancer.
As Vice President of Membership, Edwin worked hard for the JACL to increase membership and to
bring new benefits to members of the JACL. He encouraged members to each “get a member” to help
increase the membership numbers in the JACL.
Edwin has long served the JACL as a leader in the Stockton Chapter, the NCWNP District, and the National JACL organization. He has been a strong financial contributor as a Thousand Club Life member and a charter member of the Millennium Club. He has demonstrated a total dedication and commitment to the JACL.
Edwin and his wife Debbi were always fixtures at JACL functions and made fast friends wherever they went. They, and their son Robert, were the strength behind the highly successful NCWNP District fundraising dinners held at the Blackhawk Auto Museum in Danville, California.
Larry Oda, National JACL President, said these words about Edwin: “I am deeply saddened to hear of
Edwin's passing. He was a close friend and an effective member of the National Board. He worked
tirelessly for the JACL for many years at the chapter, district and national levels. He was a good guy
and a good friend. We will miss him.”
National Executive Director of the JACL, Floyd Mori, stated: “Edwin did a great deal for the JACL, and he will be sorely missed. No one was more enthusiastic than Edwin about doing his part for the JACL in whatever capacity he was serving. It was always a pleasure to be around him. We are grateful to have known him and extend our heartfelt sympathy to his family.”
The JACL extends sincere condolences to Edwin Endow’s wife, son, parents, and all family members at this difficult time.
Washington, D.C. -- The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) offers its congratulations to Hung Nguyen and commends him for the honor he received from the Fairfax County (Virginia) Board of Supervisors for his more than twelve years as an active volunteer in working tirelessly to increase the number of minority voters. Mr. Nguyen was named by the supervisors as winner of the 2008 Barbara Varon Volunteer Award.
Mr. Nguyen came to the United States from Vietnam. He has organized distribution of translated election materials to increase political awareness in minority communities.
With over twenty years of community activism, Mr. Nguyen has served the Asian American community well. He is President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Congress of Vietnamese Americans. He has been active in various Asian American organizations and has been a friend of the JACL.
Washington, D.C. – The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) congratulates athlete Bryan Clay on his gold medal in the decathlon at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Clay, who is of African-American and Japanese-American descent, completed ten events over two days of intense competition. Considered by many to be one of the world's greatest athletes, Clay also captured the silver medal at 2004 Olympics and is the 2008 World Indoor champion for the sport.
When asked about any Asian influence in his life, Bryan states on his official website, "Japanese culture and food were a huge part of my life growing up…My mother made sure I knew who I was and where I came from."
Bryan was born in Austin, Texas in 1980 and moved to Hawaii at age five where he was raised. The 28-year-old is the first American man to claim gold in the decathlon since the 1996 Olympics.
Washington, D.C. – Lillian Kimura, the first woman to be elected as National President of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and long time JACL leader, received the Ina Kay Award from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), on November 17, 2008, at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Cast members of the award-winning TV series Mad Men, Vincent Kartheiser, Christina Hendricks, and Elisabeth Moss narrated the stories of the three outstanding women honorees. Lillian’s story was told first to the 2500 people in attendance.
Lillian Kimura was interned in a concentration camp during World War II. Her family was uprooted from their home and taken to Manzanar when Lillian was thirteen years old. Later settling in Chicago and New York, Lillian became active in the JACL and worked on the Redress Movement which provided for Reparations and an apology for Japanese Americans interned during World War II. The ADL was an early supporter of Redress. She speaks to school groups to tell them of her experience when she was their age. She reminds them that we should learn about and remember this event of discrimination and hatred so that it does not happen again to any group. Now retired from her position with the YWCA in New York, she continues to serve diligently in her New York Chapter and on the Eastern District Council of the JACL as well as in many other areas. The presentation was an opportunity for thousands to hear of the Japanese American experience.
Also receiving the award was The Honorable Melissa Powers, who was responsible as a prosecutor for securing a confession that closed a 17 year old case involving the murders of two African American children in Ohio, and is now a Judge. The third recipient was Sergeant Major Ronit Tubol of the Israel Police Force, who miraculously survived and recovered after a suicide bomber boarded a bus in which she was riding.
The ADL, now in its 95th year, held its first ADL In Concert Against Hate event in 1995 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust. The National Symphony Orchestra entertains, and awards are presented. At its annual Concert, the ADL presents the Ina Kay Award, which is the most prestigious and visible award they give. The Ina Kay Award recognizes individuals for extraordinary acts of courage in confronting intolerance and injustice, extremism and terrorism. Ina and Jack Kay worked tirelessly to improve the lives of those around them with involvement in many worthwhile causes. Their two daughters, Lauren and Shelley, presented the awards at a dinner held before the Concert, along with emcee Steven H. Schram, Washington, D.C. Regional Board Chair of the ADL.
Washington, D.C.—The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) held its second Annual National JACL Gala Awards Dinner, "A Salute to Champions of Redress," at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C., on September 25, 2008. The event commemorated the 20th Anniversary of the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which provided for Redress and an apology from the President of the United States to Japanese Americans who were interned in concentration camps during World War II. Over 300 guests attended the Gala. The Honorable Congressman Mike Honda did a superb job as the master of ceremonies for the evening.
The Gala was attended by elected officials, including Madeleine Bordallo who represents Guam, and the Honorable Norman Y. Mineta, formerly Secretary of Transportation and Secretary of Commerce. Many staff members representing members of Congress were in attendance along with representatives from various Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) and civil rights organizations. Corporate sponsors, as well as National JACL Board members and staff, and JACL members and friends from across the country enjoyed the Gala.
The awardees for the night, called "Champions" by the JACL for their tireless commitment and efforts towards the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, included the American Jewish Committee, an early supporter of the Redress movement; John Tateishi, former Redress Chair for the JACL; Grayce Uyehara, former JACL Legislative Education Committee Executive Director; the Honorable Norman Mineta, former Congressman from San Jose who was instrumental in getting the legislation through Congress; and AT&T as the corporate partner for helping to continue to tell the story of Redress among young people. The JACL also presented awards to two rising champions, David Inoue and Nathan Shinagawa, who are elected officials and show great promise for the future. Bill Yoshino, JACL Midwest Regional Director, was honored for thirty years of service to the JACL.
Ellie Yagi, a student at the University of Utah, captivated the audience as she sang the National Anthem and the song, For Good from the show Wicked. The Maryland Classic Youth Orchestra, consisting of Kenneth Liao, Elizabeth Leung, Emily Chen, and Christy Kang, provided entertainment. World War II veterans and members of the Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA) Grant Ichikawa and Yeiichi Kelly Kuwayama, performed the flag ceremony.
National Executive Director, Floyd Mori, stated: "The event was another success in keeping the JACL squarely in the middle of the DC scene. The honorees for the Gala are true champions, and we appreciate the work they did to bring about Redress and to help the JACL continue its work in leadership development and civil rights. We are grateful to our corporate partners, Senator Inouye and the rest of the Honorary Committee, the Gala Committee, and all who attended in order to support the cause of social justice. The support and attendance of members of the National Board was significant in giving the public a view of who we are as an organization. It would not have been possible without the work of JACL members throughout the nation."
Washington, D.C. – The American Jewish Committee (AJC) will be given an award as a “Champion of Redress” at the second annual National Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) Gala Dinner. The event will be held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, D.C. on September 25, 2008.
The JACL is highlighting the Redress movement throughout this year on the 20th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. The Act paved the way for an apology and reparations to Japanese Americans who were interned in concentration camps in remote areas of the United States during World War II.
When the JACL began the Redress campaign in earnest after the 1978 National JACL Convention, John Tateishi, who was the Chairman of the National Committee for Redress for the JACL, received a call from Ernie Weiner, director of the Bay Area Chapter of the AJC. Mr. Weiner had been directed by the national office of the AJC in New York City to monitor the JACL’s Redress campaign. He pledged the support of the AJC for the Redress movement, and the AJC became the first organization to endorse the JACL’s Redress campaign. Mr. Weiner received the Edison Uno Civil Rights Award from the JACL at the 2008 National JACL Convention in Salt Lake City in July of 2008.
Richard Foltin, Legislative Director and Counsel in the AJC Office of Government and International Affairs in Washington, D.C., attended the 2008 National JACL Convention and was on a panel about Redress. He explained the AJC’s position during the time of the Redress movement. While in Salt Lake City, Mr. Foltin along with Floyd Mori, National JACL Executive Director, and Tim Koide, JACL Membership Coordinator, met with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is headquartered in Salt Lake City. Elder Holland has been closely associated with Israel and with the BYU Jerusalem Center, which was built while he was president of Brigham Young University.
Previously announced were other “Champions of Redress” who will be honored at the Gala. The Honorable Norman Y. Mineta, Grayce Uyehara, and John Tateishi will receive awards for their roles in the Redress Campaign. The Honorable Daniel K. Inouye, United States Senator from Hawaii, is serving as the honorary chairman for the Gala with an impressive list of dignitaries on the honorary committee. Congressman Mike Honda of San Jose, California, will be the master of ceremonies.
The JACL welcomes ALL to attend the National JACL Gala. For more information or to make reservations, please call the Washington, D.C. office of the JACL at 202-223-1240 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the JACL or to join, visit www.jacl.org.
WASHINGTON, DC – NASA astronaut Daniel M. Tani is slated to be the keynote speaker at the 2008 JACL National Convention’s Sayonara Banquet on July 19 in Salt Lake City.
A longtime JACL member, Tani is a third generation Japanese American and Chicago-area native who has been an astronaut since 1996. The Tani family has had a long involvement with the JACL dating to the service of Tani’s father, Henry, as president of the San Francisco chapter at the outbreak of World War II.
Following Ellison Onizuka as the second Japanese American to have ever ventured into space, Tani has undertaken two spaceflights during his time with NASA and just returned from his second mission on Feb. 20, 2008. “We are delighted that Dan Tani will join us at this year’s convention,” said JACL National Director, Floyd Mori. “Dan’s accomplishments and character are inspiring and we look forward to acquainting him with our members, especially our youth.”
Tani will keynote the Sayonara Banquet on the last night of the 2008 JACL National Convention, using his experience as a Japanese American and an astronaut to explore this year’s theme, “Legacy of Leadership.” He has received much recognition including the NASA Spaceflight Medal in 2001, and was honored as the “Japanese American of the Biennium for Science and Technology” at the 2002 JACL National Convention in Las Vegas.
“Legacy of Leadership” will highlight the accomplishments and history of the JACL in the pursuit of justice and equality. The organization will also commemorate the 20th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 with special activities and events highlighting the JACL campaign for redress following the unjust incarceration of over 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II.
The 2008 JACL National Convention will be held in Salt Lake City from July 16-20 at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Salt Lake. For more information, please contact Floyd Mori at (202) 223-1240 or at email@example.com.
JACL Announces Several Recent Changes to its National Board
Larry Grant has been selected as the Vice President of Membership on the National JACL Board. He replaces Edwin Endow, who recently resigned from his second term for personal reasons. Mr. Grant, who is from the Wasatch Front North Chapter in the Ogden, Utah, area was appointed by National President Larry Oda to fill out the remainder of Mr. Endow’s term of office which is scheduled to end at the National JACL Convention in July 2008.
Mr. Grant has been very active in the leadership of the Salt Lake City Chapter, the Wasatch Front North Chapter, and in other levels of the JACL. He has been a District Governor for the Intermountain District Council (IDC) and served as the Nominations Chair for the past two National JACL Conventions.
The new district governor for the IDC is Brian Morishita of Idaho Falls, Idaho. Mr. Morishita has been actively involved with the JACL since he was an adolescent on the National JACL Youth Council. He has served as Chapter President and Vice President and in various other capacities. He served previously as a Vice Governor for the IDC. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Idaho State University. He has attended the JACL/OCA Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. and has participated in several National JACL Conventions.
The IDC covers the areas of Utah, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Southeast Oregon, and the eastern portion of Nevada. Mr. Morishita replaces Silvana Watanabe from the Mount Olympus Chapter.
Elaine Akagi, district governor of the Pacific Northwest District, was reelected as governor and serves as the Governors’ Caucus Chair. Other District Governors currently serving are: Alan Nishi, Northern California Western Nevada Pacific District; Alayne Yonemoto, Pacific Southwest District; Ron Katsuyama, Midwest District Council; Bobbi Hanada, Central California District Council; and Kristine Minami, Eastern District Council.
Tim Koide Hired as new Membership Coordinator in JACL HQ
San Francisco, CA -- The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization in the nation, is pleased to announce that Tim Koide has been hired as the new Membership Coordinator at the National JACL Headquarters Office in San Francisco. He replaces Lotchana Sourivong, who has resigned from the position.
The membership coordinator is responsible for developing and maintaining members and member services. The coordinator manages JACL’s system of membership tracking and works to organize and develop membership policies and procedures as well as provides assistance to local chapters about membership concerns.
Mr. Koide was a program assistant for the Mike and Maureen Mansfield Foundation in Washington, D.C. where he assisted with recruitment for the congressionally mandated U.S.-Japan Mansfield Fellowship Program. He independently handled logistics for large public policy programs on Capitol Hill and assisted with program planning logistics for all Foundation programs.
He has been a member of the JACL for several years and attended the JACL/OCA D.C. Leadership Conference. He also worked for a summer in the Washington D.C. office of the JACL while doing an internship and working with Senator Daniel Inouye’s office on the Japanese Latin American issue. He has also been a legal assistant with a law firm and a producer’s assistant with an amphitheatre. He has attained the rank of Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America.
Mr. Koide has a B.A. degree from Brigham Young University. He and his wife Emmely have been living in Orange County, California, and will relocate to San Francisco.
Floyd Mori is New Chair of NCAPA
The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) has elected S. Floyd Mori, National Executive Director of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) as its new chair to succeed Lisa Hasegawa, Executive Director of the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD). His term of office began in January 2008.
The mission of NCAPA is to advance the well-being of Asian and Pacific Islander American communities by creating a national pan-ethnic network that will promote civil rights, increase Asian and Pacific Islander American participation in our nation’s civic life, and effectively respond to attacks on our community through the active involvement of local and community Asian and Pacific Islander American organizations.
NCAPA was formally instituted in November, 1997, as a coalition of existing organizations after many Asian and Pacific Islander American organizations became increasingly aware of the need for a national coalition that would bring together Asian and Pacific Islander American advocacy organizations. A series of open meetings were originally held with the help of then U.S. Representative, Norman Y. Mineta, who went on to become the first Asian American to serve as a member of the Cabinet of a United States President. The first general membership meeting of NCAPA was held in 1999. There are currently approximately twenty member organizations.
Floyd Mori has been the JACL’s representative to NCAPA since the fall of 2005 when he became Director of Public Policy for the JACL in Washington, D.C. He began serving as National Executive Director of the JACL in late 2006. He previously taught economics at Chabot College in Hayward, California, served in the California State Assembly, and was an international business consultant and president of Mori-Silva International in the private sector. He has long been an advocate for Asian American issues and has had extensive experience in working with various Asian and Pacific Islander American communities and organizations.