SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Japanese Americans gathered at the State Capitol Feb. 19 for a Day of Remembrance event to commemorate the mass incarceration of Nikkei in American concentration camps during World War II.
Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) led a vote on his resolution recognizing Day of Remembrance in the state.
“We must never forget this important day in California’s history: the day we let fear and war hysteria trump our most sacred civil liberties,” Muratsuchi said, according to a statement issued by Assemblymember Richard Pan’s (D-Sacramento) office. “Today we remember the commitment we make to freedom by ensuring this unfortunate injustice never happens again.”
Before the floor presentation, Assemblymembers Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) and Pan joined Muratsuchi for the announcement of “the first official apology for the firing of Japanese American state employees in California.”
Yosh Uchida, a former California State University, San Jose professor, was fired because of a resolution that “led to the firing of hundreds of Japanese American state employees by the State Personnel Board,” the statement said.
“I would like to thank these and other legislators who recognize the injustice done to the Japanese American community within the state of California and rectifying it with the introduction of ACR 19,” Uchida said in the statement.
Authored by Pan, the resolution apologizes for the passage of SCR 15, which was authored by a previous Sacramento legislator, Sen. John Swan, and passed by the 1942 legislature.
Veterans and other former wartime inmates, along with the Japanese American Citizens League also attended the event.