In 2000, the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Coalition for Redress/Reparations (NCRR) decided to adopt its non-profit name, Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress, with the same acronym, NCRR. The new name better reflects the ongoing work of NCRR: active participation in the broad areas of civil rights as well as continued commitment to redress for Japanese Americans and Japanese Latin Americans.
NCRR was founded in 1980 by Nikkei (Japanese Americans) from across the country. They held the firm belief that our community had to come together to fight for proper redress for what our government did to Nikkei during World War II.
The members were united around five founding principles:
1. To call for $25,000 monetary compensation for each individual who suffered deprivation of liberty during the War;
2. To push for a community trust fund to repair at least some of the damage to our communities brought on by the exclusion and internment;
3. To work toward overturning the wartime court cases of Fred Korematsu, Gordon Hirabayashi, and Min Yasui;
4. To educate the general public about this tragedy so as to prevent such events from happening again;
5. To support similar campaigns against injustice.
NCRR has steadfastly followed these guiding principles since 1980. We worked with the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the National Council for Japanese American Redress (NCJAR), and the Nikkei members of Congress to win passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 (CLA).
But foremost has been our drive to empower the grassroots community, to help give voice to Japanese Americans who felt that they had nothing to say or that what they did have to say was not important.
NCRR helped many of them to speak out at the 1981 hearings of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC). We held countless forums to educate and activate the community to participate in the Redress Movement. In 1987, we organized a lobbying delegation of over 120 Nikkei to Washington D.C.
Since the historic signing of the CLA in 1988, NCRR has vigorously fought to ensure that redress becomes a reality for all those who were deprived of liberty during World War II. In 1989, when appropriations for the CLA became stalled, we rallied the community to push for appropriations. In October 1990, redress became a reality, as Japanese Americans began to receive redress in the form of a presidential apology and $20,000 monetary compensation.
When it became apparent that many individuals were being denied redress due to overly strict interpretations of the CLA, NCRR spearheaded many campaigns on behalf of denied categories. Among those that have finally obtained redress are the railroad and mine workers; the minor relocatees to Japan; children that were Redress advocates at DOR born outside of camp prior to January 21, 1945; and partial redress for Japanese Latin Americans.
NCRR has worked closely with members of the Japanese American Bar Association to press for redress in the courts for those denied reparations. As a founding member of Campaign for Justice for Japanese Latin Americans!, NCRR continues to push for legislation that would grant equity in redress for Japanese Latin Americans and Japanese Americans denied redress, and that would restore full funding for public education about the internment experience (only $5 million of the intended $50 million from the CLA was actually appropriated).
Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress continues to support the many struggles for justice. We are participants in the Summer Activist Training, the fight for the rights of workers, and international support for such groups as the comfort women brutalized by wartime Japan. NCRR is also active in efforts to make Little Tokyo a thriving community, which includes the campaign for a recreation center.
NCRR 9/11 COMMITTEE
The NCRR September 11 Committee was formed by individuals who were concerned that Muslims, Arabs and South Asians would be targeted by the government and others seeking scapegoats for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
After a candlelight vigil in Little Tokyo on September 28, 2001, which was initiated by NCRR and co-sponsored by the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, the Japanese American Citizens League, the Japanese American National Museum and the Little Tokyo Service Center, the committee began outreaching to Muslim American and Arab American groups.
In order to learn more about the religion, culture and history of these communities and to build a relationship of support, the 9/11 Committee held a series of programs including one on Afghanistan with a speaker from Revolutionary Alliance of Women from Afghanistan (RAWA); a Break the Fast at Senshin Temple with the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC); a program on Civil Liberties and National Security with speakers from MPAC, the Council on American- Islamic Relations (CAIR), the legal community (the late Fred Okrand and Carol Sobel), the American Arab Anti-discrimination Committee (ADC) and NCRR; and an educational on the Middle East situation that included both a Palestinian and an Israeli speaker.
Future events include women exchanges, film showings, educationals and break the fast programs. The more understanding we have of each other, the more protection we will have from further injustices, such as the internment camps.
DAY OF REMEMBRANCE
NCRR has been a sponsor of the Day of Remembrance program in
Los Angeles for more than 20 years. The DOR program commemorates the February 19, 1942 signing of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. EO 9066 enabled the U.S. government to imprison 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry into American concentration camps.
Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress (NCRR)
(formerly the National Coalition for Redress/Reparations)
A community organization committed to educating the public about the wartime injustices perpetrated on Japanese Americans by the U.S. government as well as supporting similar campaigns against
HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMITTEE
The NCRR Historical Preservation Committee (HPC) continues to document NCRRs role in the 1980s and 1990s historic redress campaigns through oral histories, journal writing, and the gathering of photos, notes, and artifacts from the over two-decades-long reparations effort. The California Civil Liberties Public Education Program grant enabled NCRR to videotape the oral histories of Miya Iwataki, Bert and Lillian Nakano, Alan Nishio, and Jim Matsuoka. Also, interviewed were Suzy Katsuda, Richard Katsuda, Kathy Masaoka and Kay Ochi.
The project is nearing completion with the tran- Lillian Nakano scription and indexing of the tapes.
The HPC has begun discussions on how to publish broader perspectives on current issues through the involvement of Asian/Pacific Islander American artists and activists. For more information, please contact Kay Ochi at (213) 413-6537.
Early in the redress campaign NCRR learned about the internment of Japanese Latin Americans during World War II. In 2000, we heard about the World War II internment of Japanese adult males in Cuba from Francisco Miyasaka of the Society of Japanese in Cuba. NCRR member, Judy Nishimoto Ota, had met Miyasaka in Havana the previous year, and she invited him to come to Los Angeles and the Bay Area to speak about the 100-year history of Japanese in Cuba. Currently there are 1300 Cuban Japanese,
including ten Issei, living in Cuba.
At Mr. Miyasakas invitation NCRR sent an eighteen-member delegation to Cuba in 2001. The group brought Japanese foods, medicines and obon traditions to share with Cuban Japanese in Havana and on the Isle of Youth. The delegates visited the homes of Japanese in Cuba and the Presidio Modelo where Japanese men were confined by the Cuban government at the urging of the U.S. during World War II; and learned how the Cuban people coped with the U.S. embargo through organic farming and joint economic development with other countries. Despite the U.S. governments hostility toward Cuba, NCRR
hopes to continue these exchanges and gratefully acknowledges
the role of Judy Nishimoto Ota who passed away in March 2002 after a long and courageous battle with breast and liver cancer.
Teachers, parents, and high school students formed the Education Committee more than nine years ago to review the materials used in California schools to teach the history of Japanese Americans in this country and, if necessary, to develop appropriate curriculum materials. As a result of their findings, the Committee collected educational materials, organized teacher training workshops, and encouraged participation of school professionals in educational pilgrimages and school district forums.
With a grant from the CLAs Civil Liberties Public Education Fund (CLPEF), the Committee worked with Visual Communications (VC) to preserve, index and summarize Speak Out for Justice, the videotapes of the historic three-day 1981 Los Angeles Hearings of the CWRIC.
The Committee currently serves as an advisory body to VC on an educational video, Stand Up for Justice, a docu-drama about Ralph Lazo who accompanied his Nisei friends to Manzanar dur-
ing World War II. The video, funded by grants from CLPEF and the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program (CCLPEP), is scheduled for completion by 2003
2002 NCRR LOS ANGELES
Richard Katsuda Co-Chairperson
Kathy Nishimoto Masaoka Co-Chairperson
Kay Ochi Co-Chairperson
Suzy Katsuda Treasurer
Duane Inouye Sanchez Corresponding Secretary
Janice Yen Recording Secretary
Board of Directors
BECOME A MEMBER! DUES ARE $30 PER YEAR. GENERAL MEETINGS ARE ON THE FIRST SATURDAY OF THE MONTH (EXCEPT ON HOLIDAYS). DUES AND DONATIONS ARE TAX-DEDUCTIBLE.
Make checks payable to Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress