Eighty-one years ago, 120,000 people of Japanese descent were incarcerated without evidence, because opportunistic politicians used their ethnicity to question their loyalty after the Imperial Japanese government’s attack on Pearl Harbor.
As much as we want to believe that the arc of the moral universe, while long, eventually bends toward justice, the recent attacks on Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., by a handful of her House colleagues have shown us that not enough has changed over the last 81 years.
A U.S. House member since 2009, Chu has served her country honorably, but her status as a Chinese American is enough for some to call her disloyal and demand she be investigated for defending a Chinese American nominee to a government board.
To promote suspicion or cast doubt about a fellow American’s loyalty and patriotism because of their ancestry is beyond the pale. It is un-American and it reminds us of the same baseless allegations of disloyalty that led to the tragic and unjust uprooting and incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans whose only crime was looking like the enemy.
Our interpretive center exists to remind our nation of the awful hardship and egregious injustice that grew out of the deliberate fanning of fears and suspicion toward Americans of Japanese ancestry during World War II. Our mission today is to do all we can to prevent that same malicious exploitation of fear and racial prejudice from ever again being used to violate the civil rights and human dignity of any group in this country. That’s why we call on fair-minded Americans to join us in condemning the baseless, dangerous and defamatory attacks on Congresswoman Chu.
Pictured in the photo (L-R): Aura Sunada Newlin, Rep. Mike Honda, Rep. Judy Chu, Floyd Mori of APAICS and HMWF Board Chair Shirley Ann Higuchi in 2015.