|Forward to Justice! With four reparations bills introduced into Congress (Lowery and Wright bills in the House and Cranston and Matsunaga bills in the Senate), the long Congressional road to reparations had begun. In other news NCJAR’s class action lawsuit was in the courts and Fred Korematsu had won his case in the Supreme Court. NCRR supported all of the bills and the court cases. NCRR also actively participated in local drives to provide compensation for Japanese Americans fired from their city, county and state jobs during World War II.
This year’s DOR program was held outside in the JACCC plaza on a cool but clear afternoon. After the religious invocation by Reverends Noriaki Ito and Paul Nakamura, Bert Nakano, NCRR keynote speaker said, “I think one thing stands out as an accomplishment—an important step necessary to a successful campaign. A sense of unity, while mutually respecting the differences among the various redress groups, which NCRR from the onset advocated and struggled for. As such, the various redress groups, and ultimately, all generations and sectors or our community forged a united front on the basis of our common goal—winning reparations.”
Nakano went on to explain that with the ratio of anti-redress letters to letters favoring redress running at 15 to 1, the struggle for reparations will be “difficult and protracted.” He added that, “the Nikkei community faces the challenge and responsibility of expanding and reaching out into the broader community to clearly define what the RR issue is all about. This is an issue which affects all justice-minded Americans—it is an issue that goes beyond money—it hits at the heart of the very foundation of this nation’s ideals of justice and democracy for all Americans, regardless of race or color.”
Congressman Mervyn Dymally and Edward R. Roybal, both of whom are co-sponsors of the Jim Wright bill in the House, encouraged the crowd to keep writing to their Congressman in support of the redress bills. Dymally said that the Congressional Black Caucus supported reparations for Japanese Americans. Reverend Carl Segerhammer, former Bishop of the Pacific Southwest Synod of the Lutheran Church of America voiced his support for Japanese American redress. Labor support came from Eric Mann of the United Autoworkers Local 645. An aide to Jesse Jackson, the Democratic presidential candidate, voiced Jackson’s support for Japanese American redress and equality.
LTPRO staged a skit entitled “Nikkei Wars” in which Darthakawa (a spoof of Senator S. Hayakawa) was pitted against the Nikkei community led by Obi Wan Kenobi Wada, Yoda-san, and other residents of Nikkei-Machi.
Approximately 400 persons attended the DOR. Over 35 volunteers from NCRR, JACL, LTPRO, Sage United Methodist Church, UCLA Asian American Studies Center, and students from Occidental College’s Asian Alliance, California State University at Long Beach Asian American Student Association, and UCLA’s Nikkei Student Union worked together to organize another successful DOR. In the post-DOR meeting organizers cited the successful outreach to organizations and the good turnout of Nisei and Sansei. Among the lessons learned: outdoors programs should be short and skit dialogue is difficult to hear in an open-air setting. Several people visited the information tables. Forty-five letters were written to congressional representatives, and many others took sample letters with them.
|Wright Bill..., Rafu Shimpo, 10/05/83|
|NCJAR Class action lawsuit, Rafu Shimpo, 10/3/83|
|Fred Korematsu case, Rafu Shimpo, 10/6/83 (PDF)|
|city..., Rafu Shimpo, 2/15/84, LA Council votes to compensate|
|DOR program, Rafu Shimpo, 2/21/84, DOR|
|Bert Nakano, NCRR keynote speaker..., 1984 (speech)|
|forged a united front..., Rafu Shimpo, 5/3/83, Redress orgs...|
|forty-five letters..., 1983 Letters to congress (PDF)|