This is in response to Grant Ujifusa’s May 15 Letter to the Editor. As someone who was at the Manzanar Pilgrimage, I wanted to clarify that what Professor Mitch Maki said was that President Reagan, at the redress bill signing ceremony, credited Ms. Rose Ochi for reminding him of his connection to 442nd veteran Kazuo Masuda.
No one — certainly not Ms. Rose Ochi — is taking sole credit for convincing President Reagan to support the redress bill.
Ms. Ochi and Prof. Maki are well aware that hundreds of people were involved in the redress movement and that a number of people approached Reagan on different occasions.
It is, however, a fact that Reagan acknowledged Ms. Ochi during the signing of the redress bill on Aug. 10, 1988. It is documented at the President Ronald Reagan Library, under his speeches, and is easily downloadable.
Additionally, Ms. Ochi worked tirelessly behind the scenes with senators and representatives in an effort to get them to support the redress bill. This usually meant she met with elected officials on other matters but always made sure to bring up the redress bill.
It is wonderful that Mr. Ujifusa is able to shed light on how others had contacted Reagan about Kazuo Masuda. It is indicative of how everyone worked towards the goal of getting the redress bill passed, and the fact that Reagan acknowledged Ms. Ochi during his speech does not take away from all the contributions that others have made.
Together, we all worked towards getting the redress bill passed; no one was more important than another.