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Black Lives Matter

Board Member Message
by Sachi Kaneko

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

This is a call to action. In an article for the Washington Post, Dr. Obasogie recently characterized the death of George Floyd as the spread of the “police violence pandemic.”  This combined with the effects of the novel Coronavirus are two massive problems within our country that disproportionately affect Black people.  

Black men in America are 3.5 times more likely to be killed by law enforcement than their White counterparts (Obasogie, 2020).  Available data about the Coronavirus show that counties that are primarily Black have “three times the rate of infections and almost six times the rate of deaths as counties where white residents are the majority” (Thebault, Tran, and Williams, 2020).  This is the current climate of being Black in America- it is not chance or happenstance or a series of isolated incidents, it’s systemic.

Systemic racism is a pivotal piece to the founding of our country. Our economy was built on the cheap or free labor of non Whites- a system that continues to persist today. The implicit biases that were fostered by that system to enforce racial hierarchies are long standing and deep.

“The very serious function of racism… is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and so you spend 20 years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is….” -Toni Morrison, Writer and Speaker

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Blog National JACL

JACL Statement on H.R. 40

JACL Executive Director, David Inoue, discusses JACL’s support of H.R. 40. H.R. 40 would create a commission to examine the institution of slavery, its legacy, and make recommendations to Congress for reparations, beginning a process of repairing and restoring after centuries of enslavement. You can click below if you want to sign up for emails specifically around JACL and H.R. 40.

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Blog

Portland JACL in solidarity with Black lives

We, as the Portland JACL, send condolences to George Floyd’s family for his murder. We are saddened and outraged, yet we are not surprised. We recognize that the murder of Black and Brown people at the hands of police is part of an ongoing pattern that plagues our country and our city. While we mourn Mr. Floyd, we must also remember Keaton Otis, Quanice Hayes, Aaron Campbell, and Patrick Kimmons who are among the more than 14 African Americans killed by police in Portland since 1996.

Asian Americans for Black lives
Graphic courtesy of Kalaya’an Mendoza

We are in solidarity with the Portland protesters as they stand in opposition to police violence that disproportionately affects Black and Brown people. We demand justice for Black lives. At the same time, we know that we must grapple with the anti-Blackness that exists within our own community, our families, and ourselves. We commit to using our position as community leaders to engage our people in conversation and the necessary work of confronting ways in which we have benefited from the “model minority” myth and contribute to the perpetuation of anti-Black racism.

We know that this is a challenging time right now and that recent events are weighing heavy on peoples’ hearts and minds. We also know that neither sadness nor silence will bring about the change we so desire. We call on our community to take action to elevate Black voices seeking justice in this country. Will you join us?

Take action today:

  • Donate to a local Black-led fund or organizations:
  • Demand justice for:
    • George Floyd- Text FLOYD to 55156 to sign the petition
    • Breonna Taylor- Sign the petition
    • Ahmaud Arbery- Text JUSTICE to 55156 to sign the petition
Community Letter
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Blog National JACL

Our Outrage for George Floyd’s Murder is Not Enough

June 1, 2020
For Immediate Release
David Inoue, Executive Director, dinoue@jacl.org, 202-607-7273
Sarah Baker, VP Public Affairs, sbaker@jacl.org

It has been one week since George Floyd was lynched by four Minneapolis police officers. The death of George Floyd was preventable, as were the deaths of Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Nina Pop, Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed, Charleena Lyles, and countless other Black lives who have been lost to systemic racism in the United States.

Officer Derek Chauvin, now being charged with murder and manslaughter, was not alone in George Floyd’s murder. Also complicit were officers Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and most visibly, Tou Thao, an Asian American officer who, instead of using his authority to stop Chauvin, chose to enable and protect his partner. The JACL denounces the actions of Officer Thao and stands with the Black community in demanding justice for George Floyd and all Black lives.

We must recognize that as violence has erupted from the roots of peaceful protest, it reflects the violence we as a nation have inflicted upon the Black community in our 400-year history as a colonized nation. The genocide began with the colonization of Native American land, to the capture, indentured servitude, and enslavement of African peoples, to Jim Crow, and beyond. We continue to see the legacy of our traumatic history today in the inequities of COVID-19 as Black lives are disproportionately impacted by our failed healthcare system.