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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 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.

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National JACL Uncategorized

Asian People Are Not a Disease

March 20, 2020

For Immediate Release

David Inoue, Executive Director
Sarah Baker, VP Public Affairs


As terms like “Chinese Virus”, “Wuhan Virus”, and “Kung Flu” are increasingly used by the President and other leaders in our country, so do we see the increase of racially-based hate crimes and xenophobia against people of Asian descent. While President Trump has defended his usage of these types of terms, as “not racist at all”, the impacts on our communities tell a different story.

Since as early as January, Asian-owned businesses have been seeing drastic decreases in sales, to the point that some have had to permanently close. New York City has seen a significant rise in violence against Asians, ranging from verbal abuse to physical assault, including a man chasing an Asian woman through the subway station before beating her. In San Francisco a woman was spit on and screamed at by a man on the street, forcing her to flee to a nearby business to escape further attack. These types of incidents are only going to increase as rhetoric that points the finger at the Chinese, and more broadly Asians, continues to escalate.

Asians, especially East Asians, are being labeled as dirty, uncivilized, and animalistic based on cultural generalizations. Senator Cornyn (TX) blamed the Chinese for causing COVID-19 because of the stereotype of a diet of animals exotic to American palates. This type of fear-based inductive reasoning hearkens back to moments in our history like the Chinese Exclusion Act and the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans, when people of Asian descent were targeted by our government through racist policies.

People of Asian descent are no more likely to be carriers of COVID-19 than anyone else: viruses do not see race. The negative and in some cases violent reactions Asians have been experiencing serve as a reminder that we are seen as the perpetual foreigner. It doesn’t matter how many generations our families have been here or if we have just recently immigrated, we are continually labeled as “other”. Had COVID-19 originated in a predominantly white country, the story would have looked a lot different.

This harmful narrative that is being divisively used by our government leaders is creating wide-spread hatred and fear against Asians that will have long lasting impacts on our community. As businesses close and racist attacks continue, we call on our leaders to use language that does not cast blame on Asian people. COVID-19 is a global pandemic that impacts all of us equally. It should be called by its scientific name, not a colloquialism that is harming the Asian people.

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The Japanese American Citizens League is a national organization whose ongoing mission is to secure and maintain the civil rights of Japanese Americans and all others who are victimized by injustice and bigotry. The leaders and members of the JACL also work to promote cultural, educational and social values and preserve the heritage and legacy of the Japanese American community.

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National JACL

Prepared Statement on Expansion of the Muslim Ban

JACL Denounces Expansion of the Muslim Ban

January 31, 2020

For Immediate Release

David Inoue, Executive Director
dinoue@jacl.org, 202-223-1240

Sarah Baker, VP Public Affairs
sbaker@jacl.org


Today’s addition of Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania expands he number of countries affected by the Muslim Ban to 13. Similar to the first ban, the people impacted are predominantly Muslim. But these new additions will also affect those fleeing persecution in places such as Myanmar. That these announcements have come in the same week as the three year anniversary of the issuance of the first Muslim Ban and Holocaust Memorial Day is reprehensible. We cannot recall the holocaust without acknowledging our country’s role in refusing holocaust refugees entry. As we now repeat the same mistake through this expanding and misguided policy, it would behoove us to question its validity and effectiveness. Since the implementation of the first Muslim Ban, families have been forced to live apart, college student’s studies have halted, and lives have even been lost because of the restrictions. What has this ban truly done to protect our country?

The ban is a source of particular pain to the Japanese American community. The Supreme Court upheld the ban in its 2018 decision on the basis of national security. This was the exact same rationale used to uphold the World War II incarceration of nearly 120,000 people, many of whom were citizens, because of our national ancestry. The fact that Chief Justice Roberts went out of his way to repudiate the Korematsu decision was ironic in the decision’s reaffirmation of discrimination on the basis of national origin under the guise of national security. In neither case has the government been able to prove an actual security threat.

The expansion of the Muslim Ban continues a pattern of discrimination by this country against communities of color as also seen in the policies of family separation and incarceration, changes to the public charge definition, and most recently, subjecting American citizens of Iranian ancestry to additional screening at the Canadian border. Having experienced the sting of restrictions on Asian immigration in the past, JACL opposes these broad attacks on immigration which stand in direct opposition to the ideals upon which this country was founded that we have yet to truly uphold.

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The Japanese American Citizens League is a national organization whose ongoing mission is to secure and maintain the civil rights of Japanese Americans and all others who are victimized by injustice and bigotry. The leaders and members of the JACL also work to promote cultural, educational and social values and preserve the heritage and legacy of the Japanese American community.


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National JACL Uncategorized

Prepared Statement on Increased Screening of Iranian Americans

JACL Concerned by Reports of Increased Screening Procedures for Iranian American Citizens at the U.S./Canadian Border

January 6, 2020

For Immediate Release

David Inoue, Executive Director
dinoue@jacl.org, 202-223-1240

Sarah Baker, VP Public Affairs
sbaker@jacl.org


Washington, DC – This past weekend, reports of increased screening of Iranian Americans returning to the United States from Canada arose late Saturday night and early Sunday morning. Although individuals were not officially detained or taken into custody according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP), it is clear that many U.S. citizens of Iranian descent were subjected to additional screening that non-Iranian citizens were not.

JACL denounces this expansion of screening and further questioning based solely on Iranian heritage. Our country should have learned its lesson when it targeted Japanese Americans because of our ancestry. We must not repeat the mistake of casting suspicion on American citizens simply because of their family’s country of origin. Racist discrimination should not be institutionalized under the guise of national security interests.


CBP seems to be seeking cover by claiming to have not detained or ordered for the detention of any individual, but has made no comment in regards to the extended questioning and screening procedures. We call upon CBP to immediately halt any discriminatory policies singling out travelers solely for their Iranian heritage. If CBP did not issue orders for additional screening, it must conduct an immediate investigation as to why additional screenings were required for Iranian Americans crossing the border.

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The Japanese American Citizens League is a national organization whose ongoing mission is to secure and maintain the civil rights of Japanese Americans and all others who are victimized by injustice and bigotry. The leaders and members of the JACL also work to promote cultural, educational and social values and preserve the heritage and legacy of the Japanese American community.


 

 

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National JACL

The NO BAN Act

Sen. Chris Coons and Rep. Judy Chu Introduce NO BAN Act to Repeal Muslim Ban

 

 

On Wednesday, Sen. Coons (D-DE) and Rep. Chu (CA-27) announced the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants Act (the “NO BAN Act”) to challenge the administration’s Muslim ban. The act would repeal all versions of the Muslim ban, amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to protect against religious discrimination, and prevent similar bans in the future.

Among the others speaking at the event were the three Muslim members of congress, Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN-5), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), and Rep. Andre Carson (IN-7).

JACL stands in staunch support of the NO BAN Act, remembering the wartime consequences of unchecked xenophobia and executive branch overreach for our own community. As nearly no one stood to defend our rights during WWII, we stand today with nearly 400 organizations in opposition to the Muslim travel ban.

Read the full text of the bill here.

To contact your member of Congress to ask them to support the NO BAN Act visit Muslim Advocates NO BAN Act advocacy center.

(From JACL National Weekly Digest: April 16, 2019)

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National JACL

New Zealand Terrorist Attack

Prepared Statement of David Inoue for CAIR Press Conference on Terrorist Attack on New Zealand Mosque

March 15, 2019

For Immediate Release

David Inoue, Executive Director
dinoue@jacl.org, 202-223-1240

Good morning, my name is David Inoue, and I am the executive director for the Japanese American Citizens League. We are the oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization in this country.

It is with heavy heart that I come here today to stand with our friends in the Muslim community. What happened in New Zealand is unfortunately becoming too common an occurrence. It is unthinkable that nearly 100 people have been killed or injured in coordinated attacks on two different mosques, sacred places of worship.

We can make no mistake, the evil behind these attacks is too often rooted in white supremacy, exposed by the targeting of places of worship whether most recently a Muslim mosque in New Zealand, or Jewish Synagogue in Pittsburgh, or an African American church in Charleston, South Carolina, or a Sikh Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. For these killers, nothing is held sacred, and these targets are selected because of the religion they practice. This is not new, hatred and discrimination have a long history. But is shows we are not learning from our history.

The Japanese American experience is one where we were incarcerated because of who we are. But that didn’t happen just with the incarceration. It began with the subtle, and not so subtle, discrimination against Japanese Americans, against Chinese Americans, and Asian Americans. That’s what led to incarceration. We don’t have incarceration now, instead we have attempts at genocide, mass killings targeting specific minority groups, and that is clearly wrong.

With all the talk of immigrants invading our country, threatening our way of life, and the need to build a wall. It is the opposite. We now have a segment of our country that is eroding the ideals of what it means to be American from the inside. We are increasingly not a nation that stands for religious freedom, and diversity as memorialized in our first amendment. And it now appears, we are exporting that hatred and evil to other countries.

Today is Friday, it is the day of community worship in the Muslim community, and in fact, that time of prayer will be quickly approaching at the noon hour. We hope that Muslims around the world today can find strength in their community as they worship together and know that they are surrounded by a community of other faiths and beliefs that stands with them. Together, we will all continue to work together to eradicate Islamophobia and other forms of hatred that weaken us as a nation, and as a worldwide community.

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The Japanese American Citizens League is a national organization whose ongoing mission is to secure and maintain the civil rights of Japanese Americans and all others who are victimized by injustice and bigotry. The leaders and members of the JACL also work to promote cultural, educational and 

social values and preserve the heritage and legacy of the Japanese American community.