Saturday, February 18, 2017

California county apologizes for Executive Order 9066

Agricultural workers  in Contra Costa County gathered around a poster of Executive Order 9066. A photo exhibit,  'Images of Internment' will be on display at the FDR Library in Hyde Park, New York.
CONTRA COSTA COUNTY issued a formal apology for what happened to Japanese Americans 75 years ago when Executive Order 9066 was signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The Board of Supervisors of the California county passed a resolution Feb. 14 apologizing for the incarceration of "our neighbors" and presented the proclamation to representatives of the Diablo Valley Japanese American Citizens League. Receiving the resolution were Yo Ikeda, Jack and Sumi Nakashima and Yo Ikea, all who were interned as children.

From left: Jack and Sumi Nakashima and Yo Ikea of the Diablo Valley 
JACL received the Contra Costa proclamation last Feb. 14.
"I felt that the 75th anniversary of that infamous executive order gained even more meaning over the last few months when executive orders by President Trump were aimed at certain groups of people," said Supervisor Federal Glover, who sponsored by proclamation.

"We need to learn from the past so that we don't repeat those same mistakes again," he said.

Supervisor John Gioia also linked 9066 to what is going on today. He said many of the supporters of Trump's executive order use 9066 as a precedent for targeting groups of people.

"Of the 120,000 who were incarcerated, 70,000 of them were U.S. citizens," said Gioia. They were not granted due process as guaranteed by the Constitution, he said.

He was referring to Trump's executive order restricting immigration from seven Muslim-dominated countries. That order was ruled to be a violation of the Constitution and has been blocked by the courts.

The executive order was the impetus for spontaneous demonstrations at dozens of airports around the world as refugees and visitors from those seven countries were detained or turned away.

Rather than appeal the court rulings, the President has since said that he will issue new orders next week that will pass judicial muster.

Hundreds of Japanese American residents of Contra Costa County were forced to leave their homes, businesses and school  - like these residents of Byron, Calif. - because of Executive Order 9066.