The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) mourns the passing of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein

She was San Francisco’s first female mayor and one of California’s two first female senators. In Congress, she was the first woman to lead the Senate Intelligence Committee and was the first woman to serve as the Judiciary Committee’s top Democrat.

Throughout her career she advocated for civil liberties, environmental protection, gun control, women’s rights, and regularly worked with Republicans to seek middle ground.

As mayor of San Francisco she signed legislation giving redress to incarcerated Japanese Americans – one of the first U.S. cities to do so. (Editor’s note: The redress was for Japanese American employees of the City and County of San Francisco who lost their jobs due to forced removal.)

In 2016 she sponsored the U.S. Senate action apologizing for the Chinese Exclusion Act.

In May 2020 she and her colleagues in the Senate urged the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division to address the rise in discrimination and hate crimes against Asian American and Pacific Islanders.

“Sen. Feinstein fought with conviction and compassion for civil rights and civil liberties for all Americans,” said Ann Burroughs, president and CEO of JANM. “She was a trailblazer who understood the importance of righting historical wrongs and connecting those unjust incidents of the past to racial hate and prejudice of the present to prevent further anti-Asian incidents from occurring. Her leadership will be missed greatly.”

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