LETTERS: Grayce Uyehara in acrylic

image courtesy of Gerald Yamada

Dear Editor,

Grayce Uyehara is prominently featured in artist Alfred J. Smith’s acrylic painting “Crossings” (1986), which is hung in the [Walter E. Washington Convention Center] lobby area across from Room 140 on Level 1. The painting depicts community leaders crossing the street at the corner of Connecticut Avenue and M Street NW, Washington, D.C.

Grayce Uyehara deserves this honor. Grayce took over as the executive director of the Legislative Education Committee (LEC) to lead Japanese American Citizen League’s (JACL) redress effort after JACL terminated its National Committee for Redress (NCR) and John Tateishi, NCR staff director, left JACL in 1984. Grayce, together with Grant Ujifusa (LEC strategy chair), Min Yasui, Cherry Kinoshita, Denny Yasuhara, Shig Wakamatsu, Mae Takahashi, Peggy Liggett, Molly Fujioka, Harry Kajihara, Tom Kometani, Rudy Tokiwa, Mary Tsukamoto, Judy Niizawa, Meriko Mori and Ruth Hashimoto, resuscitated the stalled redress initiative working with [then] Congressmen Norman Mineta and Robert Matsui and Senators Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga. All worked tirelessly to overcome obstacles in Congress, garnered support from key legislative leaders, and reversed President Ronald Reagan’s opposition to the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, also known as the Redress bill, which the President signed on Aug. 10, 1988.

Grayce deserves to be recognized as one of the significant community leaders of the 1980s. Visitors to D.C. should take the time to see this painting and to remember her leadership. It is a very good likeness of Grayce.


Gerald Yamada

National Coordinator
Japanese American National Heritage Coalition

 

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