Commemorating the Day of Remembrance: A Timely Warning from Our Nation’s Past



Feb. 17, 2017

 Contact: Mary Tablante;

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Commemorating the Day of Remembrance: A Timely Warning from Our Nation’s Past

Sunday, Feb. 19, is the annual Day of Remembrance, marking the day President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which led to 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry being forced into incarceration camps. This year marks the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066.

The Day of Remembrance is a reminder of when our government failed to protect the civil liberties of Americans of Japanese ancestry because they were perceived to be the enemy. It was not until 1976 that President Gerald Ford repealed Executive Order 9066. President Ronald Reagan later signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which provided an apology and restitution to those incarcerated.

“As we pause to remember the significance of the 75th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066, we recall the personal injustice and personal hardship it imposed on the men, women, and children who were affected by the military's implementation of that order,” said Bill Yoshino, interim executive director of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL). “Executive Order 9066 caused personal damages, dislocation, physical and mental trauma, and it offended our Constitution. We must heed the lesson from the incarceration experience that whenever and wherever civil liberties are taken from one individual or group, they can be taken from any individual or group.”

“This Day of Remembrance, we take time to reflect on when our nation succumbed to fear and made a shameful decision to incarcerate 120,000 Japanese Americans,” said NCAPA National Director Christopher Kang. “Today, we are a similar precipice in history. We must continue to speak out and force our leaders to recognize the harm to our immigrant, refugee and Muslim communities from recent discriminatory policies and executive orders. We must fight bigotry so that our dark chapter of American history is not repeated.”

NCAPA member Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the oldest Asian American civil rights organization, is co-sponsoring a Day of Remembrance event at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History on Feb. 19. The museum will host a year-long exhibition “Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II.”

Day of Remembrance events are being held around the country, and on Friday, Feb. 24, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is hosting a presentation.

Based in Washington, D.C., the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans is a coalition of 35 national Asian Pacific American organizations that serves to represent the interests of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities and to provide a national voice for our communities’ concerns. Our communities are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States, currently making up approximately six percent of the population.


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