ORINDA — The City of Orinda, Contra Costa County, on June 21 issued a proclamation recognizing the 80th anniversary of Executive Order 9066.

This proclamation follows the recent 2022 Mt. Diablo High School graduation that honored 39 Nisei students who were enrolled in the school in 1942. As a result of the media attention to the graduation, more Ygnacio Valley community members became aware of what had happened to people of Japanese ancestry in the community during those dark days.

Dennis Fay

The proclamation, signed by Mayor Dennis Fay, reads as follows.

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Proclamation recognizing the 80th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 and in solemn remembrance of the many Americans of Japanese desent who were forcefully evacuated form their homes and interned in concentration camps during World War II.

Whereas, over 80 years ago during World War II, Presidential Executive Order 9066 was issued in 1942, forcing the evacuation of over 120,000 Japanese Americans, approximately two-thirds of whom were born in the United States; and

Whereas, Japanese American families and individuals living in the western states, including Contra Costa County, were forced to leave their homes, employment, and schools under this federal order and were incarcerated in concentration camps throughout the inland part of the West, far from friends and their communities; and

Whereas, despite never being charged with a crime, and without due process, Japanese Americans were forcibly removed from their home and communities, simply because of their heritage; and

Whereas, through the poignant personal memoir “Lotus” written by Chieko Tahira, we can learn first-hand about the tragic relocation and incarceration experience of a Contra Costa family and the many other families in our county who experieneced this terribleepisode in our country’s history with tremendous courage and resilience; and

Whereas, on this 80th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, we are reminded of the gragic consequences when racism, fear, and xenophobia are allowed to grow, which has been evident during the COVID-19 epidemic through the dramatic increase of violent and disturbing crimes and incidents towards elderly Asian Americans, which we deply condemn; and

Whereas, we encourage Orinda residents to learn more about Executive Order 9066, through resources in the Orinda Library and other local historical collections in order that we never forget this tragic episode in American history and affirm the commitment to “Nidoto Nai Yoni,” which translates to “Let It Not Happen Again.”

Now therefore it be resolved, that as mayor of the City of Orinda, I hereby recognize the 80th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 and honor and solemnly remember the many Japanese Americans who experienced this tragic violation of fundamental civil rights in our nation’s history.

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