Commemorating the 120,000 Japanese American men, women and children who were unjustly incarcerated during World War II, forced to endure the loss of property, businesses, dignity, freedom and due process of law, the annual Day of Remembrance program in Los Angeles will be held on Saturday, Feb. 21, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) in Little Tokyo.

With the theme “E.O. 9066 and the [In]justice System Today,” the event, which is organized by the Japanese American Citizens League, Pacific Southwest District (JACL/PSW), JANM, the Manzanar Committee, and Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress (NCRR), will also examine the urgent matter of how the U.S. justice system continues to imperil communities of color with police violence, profiling, and mass incarceration.

Rep. Xavier Becerra will be one of the speakers.
Rep. Xavier Becerra will be one of the speakers.

“This year’s program marks the 35th anniversary of Day of Remembrance programs in Little Tokyo,” said NCRR Co-Chair Kay Ochi. “We hope that everyone will come out to participate in this annual commemoration and to show their support for our friends in the African American community.”

“As people of color, Japanese Americans and African Americans understand the impact of racism and governmental injustices,” added Ochi.

“The Japanese American community has a unique perspective on civil rights and injustice because of the mass incarceration of our community during World War II,” said Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey. “But with that perspective comes a special responsibility to speak out, rise up, and support other communities in our collective fight to protect our civil liberties and human rights.”

Highlighting the program will be “Commemoration and Remembrance,” a dialogue about the continued attacks that communities of color face due to racial profiling, excessive use of force by police, and mass incarceration.

Dr. Curtiss Takada Rooks will co-emcee the event.
Dr. Curtiss Takada Rooks will co-emcee the event.

Panelists include Povi-Tamu Bryant of Leadership Development in Intergroup Relations and Black Live Matter Los Angeles; Rey Fukuda, assistant project manager of East L.A. Community Corporation’s Real Estate Department; and Mike Murase, director of service programs at the Little Tokyo Service Center.

Also speaking at the event will be Rep. Xavier Becerra, who represents California’s 34th Congressional District.

First elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992, Becerra serves as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, is a member of the Committee on Ways And Means, and is the ranking member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security. In 2010, he served on the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.

Becerra is also a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, where he served as chair during the 105th Congress (1997-98), and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

He has also been a staunch supporter of Japanese Latin Americans in their fight for parity in reparations from the government and has introduced legislation on their behalf.

“NCRR is pleased to welcome back Congressman Becerra to the Day of Remembrance program.” said Ochi. “He is a long-time friend of the community … His participation is greatly appreciated.”

Emcees for the event are Dr. Curtiss Takada Rooks, professor of Asian Pacific American studies at Loyola Marymount University, and Helen Ota, director of development and marketing for the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center.

For additional information, contact NCRR at (213) 284-0336 or JACL/PSW at (213) 626-4471.

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