Muratsuchi Observes 30th Anniversary of Civil Liberties Act at State Capitol

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From right: Dale Shimasaki, CEO of Strategic Education Services in Sacramento, with son Lance and wife Ann Thuy Shimasaki, director of community engagement and programs, California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce; Kanji Sahara and Nancy Oda of Tuna Canyon Detention Station Coalition; Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi; Janice Yamaoka Luszczak, president of Sacramento JACL; Diane Matsuda, San Francisco Historic Preservation Commission; Craig Uchida, board member, Sacramento JACL. (Office of Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi)

SACRAMENTO — A resolution recognizing the 30th anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 was introduced on Aug. 9 by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance).

House Resolution 116 reads as follows:

“Whereas, on Aug. 10, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act to compensate more than 120,000 Japanese Americans who were incarcerated in America’s concentration camps during World War II …

“The legislation offered the government’s apology and paid out $20,000 in compensation to each surviving victim …

“Decades after the end of World War II, and inspired by the civil rights movement, the Japanese American Citizens League, the National Council for Japanese American Redress, and the National Coalition for Redress and Reparations responded to the community’s demand for redress and reparations …

“In 1980, the United States Congress responded by establishing a commission to investigate the legacy of the camps and to recommend appropriate remedies …

“The commission conducted extensive interviews and personal testimonies from over 750 victims and concerned citizens …

“In its final report, the commission called the incarceration a ‘grave injustice’ motivated by ‘racial prejudice, war hysteria, and the failure of political leadership’ and recommended monetary compensation …

“Japanese Americans then serving in the United States Congress, including Robert Matsui and Norm Mineta, helped turn that report into legislative language, providing for tax-free compensation and a formal apology with Sens. Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga providing critical support for the bill’s passage and funding…

“The Civil Liberties Act of 1988, ‘Restitution for World War II Internment of Japanese Americans and Aleuts,’ states that it is intended to, among other things: (1) acknowledge the fundamental injustice of the evacuation, relocation, and internment, (2) apologize on behalf of the people of the United States, and (3) make restitution to those individuals who were victims of this injustice …

“The act also acknowledges the injustices suffered and unreasonable hardships endured by Japanese Americans and the 881 Aleut residents who were under United States control during World War II, including personal and community property taken or destroyed by the United States Armed Forces during the war …

“The act provided for a public education fund to finance efforts to inform the public about the unwarranted incarceration of innocent civilians, so as to prevent the recurrence of any similar event; now, therefore be it

“Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, that the Assembly recognizes and lauds the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 to increase public awareness of the events surrounding the incarceration of Americans of Japanese ancestry and the extensive abuse of the Aleut people during World War II; and be it further

“Resolved, that the chief clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.”

Muratsuchi was joined at the Capitol by special guests, including:

Nancy Oda and Kanji Sahara, former incarcerees who are leaders of the Tuna Canyon Detention Station Coalition (Sahara is also a resident of the 66th Assembly District, which Muratsuchi represents);

Diane Matsuda, former director of the California State Library’s California Civil Liberties Public Education Program;

Dale Shimasaki, former executive director of the federal Civil Liberties Public Education Fund, which was established by the Civil Liberties Act;

Ann Thuy Shimasaki, director of community engagement and programs at the California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce;

Janice Yamaoka Luszczak, president, and Craig Uchida, board member, of Sacramento JACL.

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