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Statement: 80th Anniversary of Japanese American Incarceration

“Tomorrow marks the 80th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, which led to the incarceration, ostracization, trauma, and economic losses of 120,000 people of Japanese descent, including approximately 80,000 American citizens.

We join the Japanese American community in remembering the intergenerational trauma and harm resulting from unjust criminalization and incarceration. We must continually acknowledge our history to protest discrimination and oppression today.

This anniversary shows us that we have learned too little from the past. The United States’ actions with foreign countries continue to result in the villainization of communities at home. American Muslims and South Asians were targeted by discriminatory governmental policies after 9/11, including the Special Registration program, NSA surveillance and police profiling. Most recently, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, misinformation and inflammatory rhetoric from our political leaders sparked hate against not only Chinese Americans but all Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs).

As we remember the lasting pain and trauma of Japanese incarceration, this is a moment to change course. There are actions our federal and local governments can take immediately to demonstrate they are learning from history. We must put an end to policies that lead to the racial profiling of any community, including the China Initiative and Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programs. It is more pertinent than ever to educate on the Japanese American experience through the promotion of Asian American studies in schools. Finally, we must continue to invest in community-based safety solutions to protect all those who continue to be targeted with hate.”