The 2013 Day of Remembrance will take place on Saturday, Feb. 16, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) in Little Tokyo. The theme of this year’s commemoration is “The 25th Anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988: Our Struggle, Our Perseverance, Our Commitment.”
The program is a collaborative effort of the Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress (NCRR), JACL-Pacific Southwest District, the Manzanar Committee and JANM, and continues the over 30-year tradition in Los Angeles and across the nation of commemorating President Franklin Roosevelt’s signing of Executive Order 9066 and the impact on the entire Japanese American community of World War II and subsequent generations.
A panel of community activists has been invited to address key issues related to the Civil Liberties Act — what it accomplished, what it failed to address, the lessons learned and the legacy for the community. Panelists are Rose Ochi, Manzanar Committee founding member and former executive director of the California Forensic Science Institute at Cal State L.A.; NCRR co-chair and long-time grassroots activist Richard Katsuda; and Dr. Mitchell Maki, vice provost of academic affairs at CSU Dominguez Hills. Bruce Embrey, Manzanar Committee co-chair, will moderate the discussion.
Ochi was appointed by President Bill Clinton to become the first Asian American woman to serve at the assistant attorney general level under Attorney General Janet Reno, and is credited for developing the President’s Initiative on Race and as a major partner in the president’s hate crime and church arson efforts. She cites her advocacy for redress and her support of the late Sue Embrey by championing the creation of the Manzanar National Historic Site as the two most personally rewarding endeavors.
As a founding member and current co-chair of NCRR, Katsuda has continued to be involved with community organizations since the late 1970s. He was a core member of the Tule Lake Committee, a founding member of the San Jose Nihonmachi Outreach Committee (NOC) and executive director of Yu-Ai Kai/Japanese American Community Senior Service of San Jose. From the 1980’s Katsuda has been actively involved in the redress campaign for Japanese Americans and Japanese Latin Americans.
Maki is well-known as the lead author of “Achieving the Impossible Dream: How Japanese Americans Obtained Redress,” a detailed case study of the passage of the Civil Liberties Act, and is recognized as one of the leading scholars on the Japanese American redress movement. He serves on JANM’s Board of Governors and the Scholarly Advisory Council.
Also invited to speak is Dr. Anan Ameri, executive director of the Arab American National Museum (AANM) in Dearborn, Mich. He will be in Los Angeles to help open AANM’s newest exhibition, “Patriots and Peacemakers: Arab Americans in Service to Our Country,” which opens on Feb. 16 at JANM. This exhibit was created to honor Arab Americans who have served this country in the U.S. Armed Forces, the Peace Corps and the diplomatic corps, and reflects their contributions and perspectives.
The USC Nikkei Association’s April Nishinaka will narrate a multi-media presentation to recall the major events of the redress movement that led to the signing of the CLA. As a Yonsei, she will share her perspectives on the CLA and its impact on her and other youth.
During the commemorative portion of the DOR, a memorial tribute will be made to the late Sen. Daniel Inouye and other community members and friends who have passed away during the past year.
Serving as emcees for the DOR are the newly appointed regional director of the JACL-Pacific Southwest District, Stephanie Nitahara, and Soji Kashiwagi, executive producer of the Grateful Crane Ensemble.
The event will conclude with a reception catered by Carrie’s Community Caterers. For further information, contact NCRR at (213) 284-0336.