Washington, D.C. - The JACL National hosted the 48th Annual National Convention, "Our Story: Resilience, Remembrance, Resolve," in Washington D.C. from July 6-9, 2017. Boardmembers Keith Kawamoto and Amy Watanabe represented the Venice-West LA Chapter serving as this year's voting delegates.
In remembrance of the 75th anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's signing of Executive Order 9066, which forced 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry into incarceration camps without due process, the 2017 Convention featured an Opening Reception with an exclusive viewing of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, "Righting a Wrong," highlighting the experience of Japanese Americans during World War II. Original pages from the Executive Order 9066 on loan from the National Archives were displayed during the private reception.
The Embassy of Japan hosted a private reception for JACL Convention attendees at the Ambassador's Residence. During the Reception, the Governor Ralph L. Carr Courage Award was presented to Wade Henderson, the outgoing president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, for his lifetime of service in support of civil rights. Former Governor Ralph Carr advocated for the Constitutional rights of Japanese Americans and encouraged the state of Colorado to welcome Japanese Americans following Pearl Harbor. The prestigious Governor Ralph L. Carr Award honors outstanding leaders who personify his legacy of working towards racial justice and promotion of civil rights.
Long-time JACL staffer Bill Yoshino was also presented the Foreign Minister's Award by the Government of Japan to celebrate his longstanding dedication to restoring and protecting the rights of Japanese Americans. Bill Yoshino retired this year after 38 years of distinguished service, serving JACL in many capacities as Midwest Regional Director, Interim Executive Director and his instrumental work for JACL’s Redress Campaign and education programs.
At the Sayonara Banquet, the JACL President's Award was presented to Joan Bernstein and Angus Macbeth (posthumously) for their work with the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) and their contributions to seeking truth and justice. The JACL President's Award recognizes individuals with outstanding national leadership in promoting civl and human rights.
The CWRIC was established by Congress to review the facts and circumstances surrounding Executive Order 9066 and held hearings across the country and heard from over 750 witnesses, most of whom were incarcerees. In its final report, the CWRIC stated that thy fund no persuasive evidence of a military or security threat from Japanese Americans and concluded that the cause of exclusion and incarcerations was the result of "...race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership." Ms. Jodie Bernstein served as Chairperson of the Commission and Mr. Macbeth served as Special Counsel.
To view photos from all the events, please visit: https://jacl.org/2017convention/