The Civil Liberties Act @ 20 Years

The National Japanese American Memorial Foundation hosted two events marking the 20th anniversary of The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 in July and August of 2008. The Act mandated a historic national apology and reparations to Japanese Americans unjustly interned by the U.S. government during World War II.

In anticipation of the August 10th anniversary of the date of enactment, the Foundation honored the 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry who were involuntarily relocated from their homes to desolate internment camps in remote areas of the United States, and the more than 30,000 Japanese Americans who volunteered for military service despite this injustice. NJAMF also wanted to engage other civil rights and public interest organizations in the anniversary of this historic legislation.

NJAMF’s first event was a reception for members of the Senate and Congress on Capitol Hill on July 31st. Dr. Craig Uchida gave opening and closing remarks. The speakers included: Congressman Mike Honda of California, Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, who was also interned at the Amache internment camp during the war; Congresswoman Doris Matsui of California, who was born at the Poston internment camp; Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, who recounted his memories of visiting the Rowher internment camp in Arkansas when he was a soldier training in Mississippi during World War II (Inouye later received the Medal of Honor for his combat service during the war); Senator Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland; Congresswoman Shelley Berkley of Nevada; and former Cabinet Secretary Norman Y. Mineta.

34 organizations co-sponsored* the second Foundation event which took place at the Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism During World War II on August 3rd. Dr. Uchida served as master of ceremonies. Former Cabinet Secretary Mineta was the featured speaker for this event. Other speakers were: Robert Nakamoto, President, Japanese American Veterans’ Association (JAVA); Melanie B. Maron, Executive Director, American Jewish Committee, DC chapter; Professor Frank H. Wu, on behalf of the Committee of 100; Donna Hollingshead, on behalf of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), DC chapter; and Ichiro Fujisaki, Ambassador of Japan.

*Special thanks to Co-Sponsoring Organization: American Jewish Committee

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Download the 1988 Civil Liberties 20th Anniversary Program