WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 25, 2016) — U.S. Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) introduced a resolution Thursday marking the anniversary of the issuance of Executive Order 9066, which led to the internment of nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II, and affirming that America must stand against intolerance.
In a show of support, advocates from nearly ten organizations were present in the Senate gallery as Senator Hirono provided remarks from the Senate floor.
“Seventy-four years ago, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which led to the mass internment of nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. While the internment is now recognized as one of the darkest periods in our nation’s history, we must not forget that Executive Order 9066 had widespread support at the time,” Hirono said. “Today we hear echoes of the same sentiments directed toward members of the South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Arab, and Middle Eastern communities. Let’s stand together in solidarity in our American values that are rooted in compassion, respect for others, justice, and equality.”
“The internment of thousands of Japanese-Americans was a dark chapter in our nation’s history and a period of terrible injustice. As we look back on the 74th anniversary of this event, we should re-dedicate ourselves to fighting all forms of discrimination, wherever it occurs,” said U.S. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV). “Sadly, this sort of bigotry has been seen in recent months as Republicans call for barring people from the United States based on their religion and attack hard-working immigrant families. Discrimination is wrong in all its forms and, as this resolution shows, we must take a stand against it.”
“This resolution is an important and timely reminder of a dark chapter in our nation’s history when tens of thousands of Japanese Americans were persecuted because fear and prejudice infused decisions made by government officials,” said Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates. “As some public officials today again stoke fear and hatred toward a group of Americans, this time based on their faith, it is crucial that Americans stand up and stand together against hate. Now, more than ever, public officials must unite, not divide, the American people. We commend Senator Hirono for her leadership and urge the Senate’s swift passage of this resolution.”
“We thank Senator Hirono for her leadership in introducing this resolution, especially because our nation must remember its history as we unite against hate, xenophobia and bigotry,” said National Council of Asian Pacific Americans National Director Christopher Kang. “We remember the 120,000 Japanese Americans who were incarcerated during World War II–even though none was ever charged with a crime. Today is a time of high anxiety and increased rates of anti-Muslim rhetoric and actions, and NCAPA is more committed than ever to ensuring that policies and political rhetoric do not repeat the mistakes of the past in discriminating against any individual.”
The resolution is co-sponsored by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Edward Markey (D-MA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Harry Reid (D-NV), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR). Click here to read Senator Hirono’s resolution.
A broad coalition of advocacy organizations backed the measure, including Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Japanese American Citizens League, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the National Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans, Muslim Advocates, the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Sikh Coalition, and South Asian Americans Leading Together.