The Japanese American National Museum issued the following statement on Saturday.

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On this 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the nation will share a collective day to grieve, remember, and continue to heal from this momentous chapter in history. As JANM joins in this solemn national day of remembrance, we also encourage the country to remain committed to democratic ideals of tolerance and diversity.Americans are of many colors and creeds, and the victims of Sept. 11, 2001 were equally diverse.

But shortly after the attacks at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 in Pennsylvania, many retaliatory attacks wrongly targeted communities of color. The first death after 9/11, in a wave of hate crimes, was the murder of Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh man in Mesa, Ariz. on Sept. 15, 2001.

“JANM quickly called out these discriminatory and dangerous incidents of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry after 9/11,” said Ann Burroughs, president and CEO of JANM. “These crimes recalled the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans in U.S. concentration camps that resulted from the pervasive bigotry and racism directed towards them simply because they looked like the enemy. As a nation, we must remain vigilant against discrimination in all its forms, strive for tolerance where there is prejudice and seek to build a more just future.”

Photo: Marcy Borders, known as the “Dust Lady” from 9/11. Borders was working as a legal assistant for Bank of America on the 81st floor of the World Trade Center. Tragically, she passed away 14 years later of cancer at the age of 42. Photo by Stan Honda

Watch a short documentary about photojournalist Stan Honda: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMdKgPgDIVc

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