Campaign For Justice Redress Update
Day Of Remembrance 2006
We have an important announcement concerning the ongoing struggle of Japanese Latin Americans for redress.
US Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii has introduced legislation to establish a commission to investigate the treatment of Japanese Latin Americans during WWII. This would be a fact-finding study to examine why and how the US government went outside its borders and kidnapped over 2200 men, women and children of Japanese ancestry from 13 Latin American countries; put them in internment camps inside the US, and used over 800 in hostage exchanges for US citizens held in the Far East war zones.
In 1980, the Congress authorized a similar fact finding study which examined the treatment of Japanese Americans during WWII. That study led to a presidential apology and a bill for reparations. During the course of that study, information began to be uncovered about the treatment of the Japanese Latin Americans. It was found significant enough to be included in the published study and warranted deeper investigation. The bill Senator Inouye introduced this month would extend that study of the 1980 Commission.
In recent years, we are realizing that the wartime experiences of Japanese American and Japanese Latin Americans are part of a larger picture of how the US government treated the “enemy” during WWII. Since the tragedies of 9/11 and with the unfolding of the War on Terrorism, we are finding the lessons from our past to be directly relevant to the concerns we face today.
This was profoundly demonstrated at a public testimonial gathering held in April, 2005 at Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. This 2-day event was called the Assembly on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (the AWRIC hearings). It was a grassroots community extension of the 1980 Commission study, which involved over 24 community organizations, more than 64 participants and scores of staff and volunteers.
Highlighted were the wartime experiences of immigrants of German, Italian and Japanese ancestry in the US and from Latin America who were classified as “enemy aliens” during WWII. Muslim, Arab, and South Asian American witnesses also spoke describing injustices happening to their people which are uncannily similar to those the Japanese, German, and Italian Americans
experienced during WWII. The past is being repeated today. The importance of
education and dialogue about issues and lessons from our past have become immediate concerns today.
In April, the AWRIC Proceedings Report and Video will be available for sale to public.
During May 15-19, 2006, a community delegation will be delivering these AWRIC materials to the US Congress as well as civil and human rights groups. Our purpose is to provide these educational materials for their consideration of legislation and litigation.
The Japanese Latin American Commission bill is being championed in the Senate by Senator Inouye and in the House by Representative Xavier Becerra of California. Bipartisan support has been secured in the Senate but no Republican has stepped forward in the House. We are now seeking Republican support so that this legislation can be introduced as a bipartisan bill in the House of Representatives.
We need your help.
i) Please Sign TWO of the Commission bill support letters (one for your Senator and the other one for your Representative)
--sign it and fill in your contact information
--please add a personal note because even a few words make a difference
--if you know who your Congress person or Senator is, write in the name at the top of the letter.
If you don’t remember their names, we can fill it in for you later…but we need your zip code to identify who your representative is. If you have a zip code that has nine digits and you know what they are, please include all nine numbers.
--if you give your letter to the DOR organizers today, they will send your letter to the Campaign For Justice. The Campaign will deliver letters in Washington, D.C this coming March and again in May.
--if you want to send in your letter yourself, please send a copy of it to the Campaign For Justice.
ii) Another way you can help is to order a copy of the AWRIC Proceedings Report and Video. Order Forms are at the information table or you can go to the Campaign For Justice website (www.campaignforjusticejla.org). Your financial contribution will help with production costs and the community delegation’s trip to Washington DC this coming May.
You can make a difference. Thank you for any support you can give.