(First published in The Rafu Shimpo on Jan. 11, 2012.)


Rafu readers have been reading about Warren Furutani on these pages for more than 40 years. You, especially if you’re a Nisei or a Sansei, probably know Warren personally as a down-to-earth, super nice person and a courageous leader. If you don’t, then you know he’s an elected official and the first person you will want to call on for help if you or someone you care about needs a credible leader in a big public battle.

The times you’ve read about Warren on these pages, more times than not, are when he’s advocating, helping or leading an issue supporting the rights of the “underdog” and the victims of the powerful.

If you don’t know Warren, you may think of him as one of the leaders of the civil rights movement from the Asian American community; as a staffer, leader and role model in the Asian American studies movement on college campuses; as a school board member in L.A.; a community college trustee and leader for higher education; or a widely respected statewide leader and legislator.

Warren has a long track record of helping people, lots of people including people just like you.

It’s time for us to help Warren and we are given this opportunity to help Warren win a seat on the Los Angeles City Council Tuesday, Jan. 17.

Why, you want to know, should you care and help Warren win? Because our community and our people need a strong voice and a visible leader to stop the haters and the selfish power-mongers from taking our community’s money, jobs, resources, programs, assistance and especially our political power from us.

We have a vested interest in helping Warren Furutani be that visible leader and strong voice for our community. (And by the way, if Warren wins this seat, he will be the first Japanese American elected to this body. This is great if you care about bragging rights, but I know you don’t. You want a leader who will fight for you.)

It is up to us to help Warren Furutani win this seat on Jan. 17 even if we do not live in the city of Los Angeles.

Warren’s legislation and advocacy work has helped many Californians, but one law is of particular interest to our community. Warren pushed forth the law to grant honorary college degrees to Japanese Americans whose education was disrupted because of their wrongful incarceration during World War II.

Warren is a founder of the Manzanar Pilgrimage, an annual event honoring and remembering the 110,000 Japanese Americans unjustly forced into America’s concentration camps. Since he organized that first pilgrimage in 1969, several other camps established annual pilgrimages as well.

For you former college students, former community college students, high school students, teachers, adult school and community college instructors, principals, district and school administrators and countless others, when you needed advice, help, letters of recommendation, persuasive phone calls, admissions assistance, mentoring or guidance of any sort, who did you call?

Many of you corporate executives, architects, engineers, contractors, developers, small business owners, when you needed to win that contract or land that job, who did you call?

For those in the health and human services sector or those of you needing public services of any sort, when your government funding got slashed, when your programs were eliminated, when you were ignored or passed over, who did you call?

All of you called Warren Furutani because you know he is the strong voice and visible leader with the credibility, relationships and savvy to help you.

Warren Furutani is a leader cut from the same cloth as so many of our revered Nisei leaders, including Mas Fukai. He has a long list of accomplishments that you can read about, but here’s the main action you need to take: 1) go to and contribute up to $500 to help the campaign reach voters; 2) volunteer to help with voter contact this weekend and any days you can, including Jan. 17, Election Day; and 3) recruit others to give and help Warren Furutani win this seat.

For anyone who has attended an institution of higher learning or a public school in California,  you have directly benefited from Warren’s leadership.

Warren needs your help and he needs it right now.

You should care about Warren’s election to the Los Angeles City Council because when you need help, if Warren is not there, who will you call?

Visit now to contribute and volunteer.


Trisha Murakawa is a strategic communications and public affairs consultant based in Redondo Beach. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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  1. I think the suggestion that Japanese Americans should necessarily support a political figure just because of shared ethnicity is frankly insulting. Whether my voice or anyone else’s can be represented by Furutani has nothing to do with his Japanese Americanness and everything to do with his positions on specific issues and his capabilities as a leader.