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L.A. Day of Remembrance Program Set for Feb. 17

Alan Nishio, community activist and founding member of National Coalition for Redress/Reparations (now Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress), will be one of the primary speakers at the 2018 Los Angeles Day of Remembrance (DOR) program on Saturday, Feb. 17, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Ave. in Little Tokyo.

Also invited to speak is Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Los Angeles).

Alan Nishio and Rep. Ted Lieu

The theme of the program is “The Civil Liberties Act of 1988: The Victory and the Unfinished Business,” commemorating the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 (CLA), the legislation that provided the U.S. government’s apology and monetary reparations to the survivors of the forced evacuation and mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

“Since 1981, the Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress in Los Angeles has demonstrated its commitment toward the annual Day of Remembrance, a program dedicated to remembering the extensive, dire effects of World War II President Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066,” said NCRR Co-Chair Kay Ochi. “This order targeted Japanese Americans by forcibly removing them from the West Coast and incarcerating them without due process based only on their race and looking like the enemy.

“At the DOR, we acknowledge the resilience of the Japanese American community, and our legacy to support other communities as they fight against similar government orders and injustices.”

Both Nishio and Lieu have been asked to speak about the importance of the CLA, as well as what was not accomplished by this historic legislation and its relevance to today.

Nishio, well-known for his many decades of community service and activism, served as NCRR’s Los Angeles co-chair from 1980 through 1990, and provided notable leadership during the community’s campaign for redress. He has also served on the Little Tokyo Service Center’s Board of Directors since 1984, and as the board president of the Little Tokyo Service Center for 18 years. His heavy community involvement is in addition to his career as an administrator at CSU Long Beach since 1972.

Lieu served in the State Legislature from 2005 to 2014 and holds the rank of colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserves. He is now a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and has introduced important legislation such as H.R. 669–Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017. This act prohibits the president from using the Armed Forces to conduct a first-use nuclear strike unless it follows a congressional declaration of war expressly authorizing such a strike. He is also critical of the U.S. support of Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen, where airstrikes on civilian targets appear to border on being considered war crimes.

The DOR program will continue its tradition of paying tribute to the Issei and Nisei generations, and, for the second year, will involve members of scout troops from Koyasan and Venice Buddhist temples in the camp flags ceremony.

“Democracy is a fragile thing that cannot be taken for granted,” said JANM President and CEO Ann Burroughs. “With travel bans and other biased policies and actions of today harkening back to the racial prejudice Japanese Americans faced in the 1940s, it’s vital that we continue to come together in solidarity to protect all groups who may be unfairly targeted.

“Though 2018 marks the 30th anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 — a significant victory for those who survived the incarceration — our world is still marred by injustices that must be addressed. The Civil Liberties Act brought an apology and financial reparations from the United States government. Sadly, the lessons of history that led to the signing of the Act by President Ronald Reagan do not seem to mean much to some of our nation’s leaders. We must, and we will, continue to raise awareness and demand ethical treatment for everyone.”

The DOR program, co-sponsored by the Go for Broke National Education Center, Japanese American Citizens League/Pacific Southwest District, JANM, Manzanar Committee, NCRR, Nikkei Progressives, Organization of Chinese Americans/Greater Los Angeles, and Progressive Asian Network for Action (PANA), is free and open to the public, but RSVPs are encouraged due to last year’s overflow crowd.

Those who RSVP and arrive by 1:45 p.m. will be ensured admission. Attendees are asked to RSVP by visiting the JANM web site at (scroll down to the Day of Remembrance information), and print out their admission ticket. An RSVP link is also accessible through JANM’s Facebook page.

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