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National JACL

JACL Condemns Proposed Early End to Counting for the Census

For Immediate Release

David Inoue, Executive Director dinoue@jacl.org, 202-607-7273

Sarah Baker, VP Public Affairs sbaker@jacl.org

In an announcement made on August 3, the Census Bureau discussed the remaining schedule for the 2020 Census, briefly mentioning that it would cut short its deadline to end census counting. This new deadline brings the end of Census outreach and self-response from October 31, 2020, to September 30, 2020, a month shorter than previously agreed upon by both Congress and the Administration. This is an egregious decision that will leave millions of people uncounted and is a further continuation of the Administration’s attempt to undermine the Census. 

This is only the latest in several past attempts by the Administration to change the way in which the Census will consider counting people. The first attempt was the inclusion of a citizenship question that many feared would be used against undocumented immigrants. After the Supreme Court ruled against the inclusion of such a question, the Administration announced a Presidential Memorandum proposing to exclude undocumented immigrants as people in congressional redistricting. The pandemic has already made it difficult to get an accurate count; these additional attempts to change guidelines and rules makes it even harder. 

With so much at stake for underrepresented communities, and especially as we cope with COVID-19, an accurate Census count is more important than ever. Currently, the response numbers are already the lowest they’ve ever been, with a national average of only 62.9%, compared to 63.5% in 2010. In rural and tribal communities the numbers are even lower, and in large cities with high populations of communities of color, they are lower still. Census enumerators will have more communities and households to visit than before. With in-person outreach being so important to disenfranchised communities, an earlier end date means millions of people who are at risk of never being counted. 

Congress must act to ensure that the 2020 Census reflects an accurate count and portrait of all of America, to ensure that communities that need support receive it over the next decade. This would be important at any given time, but even more so now as we envision our country and its needs with the long-term effects of this pandemic. 

Categories
Blog Election

Voter Engagement

There are fewer than 100 days until the 2020 Presidential Election and with the mournful passing of civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis, we wanted to begin our efforts for voter engagement with Representative Lewis’ own words…

“My dear friends: Your vote is precious, almost sacred. It is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have to create a more perfect union.”

John Lewis
United States House of Representatives / Public domain

This champion of our voting rights compels every eligible voter to register and then vote in this upcoming election. You can check here to see if you are registered. You can update your voter information from this section of the Oregon Secretary of State website, as well.

Please join The League of Women Voters in partnership with Portland JACL at a virtual community meeting on October 10. The League of Women Voters will be providing information on the various measures on the November 2020 ballot (more information to follow). 

The deadline to register to vote in the 2020 Presidential Election is October 13. Register to Vote online.

It is our civic duty to vote. Congressman Lewis’ legacy demands no less!

Categories
Blog National JACL

Use of Federal Agents in Portland

JACL joins SEARAC, Other AAPI Orgs in Denouncing Use of Federal Agents in Portland 

July 28, 2020

Japanese American Citizens League Executive Director David Inoue said, “We denounce the mobilization of federal agents in Portland, and now other cities, under the false pretense to address urban violence and crime. Our federal agents should not be used as political props to antagonize cities because the president does not like the mayor’s political party. The president is unnecessarily placing the lives of both the officers and civilians at risk through these incursions worthy of the world’s worst dictatorships.”

Read the full statement >

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Blog

2020 Census

If you haven’t already, now’s the time to fill out the 2020 census! Census takers will soon start going door-to-door across the country to interview homes that haven’t responded yet. 

Things to know:

Completing the census helps your household and community get its fair share of funding for important government services such as food assistance, maternal healthcare, LGBTQA+ youth programs, and affordable housing. The community makeup information from the census helps enforce anti-discrimination laws like the Voting Rights Act. It also ensures fair representation in government. Oregon stands to gain a Congressional seat as a result of this census.

It’s confidential. It’s your right to participate and when you do, federal law keeps your responses confidential for 72 years.

Be sure to count everyone living at your address on April 1, 2020. The constitution says the census counts everyone living in the United States — that includes young children, undocumented immigrants and their families.

Census links:

Count us in 2020 flyer with information from Asian Americans Advancing Justice

Categories
Blog Newsletter

Sato School in Bethany

Sato Elementary School opened in September 2017. The Bethany community was asked to submit names for the new Beaverton school and the overwhelming choice was to recognize the Japanese American family who began farming in the area in 1926.

Sato School Memorial
Marleen Wallingford, Karen Sato and Ron Iwasaki at the Sato School dedication of the history of the Sato Family placed at the front of the school.

During World War II, the Sato Family was sent to Minidoka. Two sons, Shin and Roy, enlisted. Roy was wounded twice and received the Purple Heart. Shin was also a member of the Japanese American 442 Regimental Combat Team that took part in the heroic battle to save the Texas Battalion that was trapped in the treacherous Vosges Mountains. Nisei soldiers were able to overcome the German defenses. Shin posthumously received the Purple Heart as a result of that battle.

Karen Sato continues to remember her family. Her sister, Lois who passed away in 2013 was the last family member to live on the farm.

When Col. Mike Howard who lives in the area heard the story of the Sato Family, he wanted to make sure the community understood the historical significance of the heroism of Shin and the sacrifice the family suffered. He worked with the school’s principal, Annie Pleau to obtain Beaverton School District’s permission to place the plaque.

I was saddened when I first visited Sato School and there was no memorial. History is a fragile thing and I wanted the kids to know the truth … good and bad, so they can learn from it.

Col. Howard

It was a labor of love for Col. Howard. He grew up living next to the Shimotani Family in Ventura, California. This is where he first heard of the 442 and saw the film, “Go For Broke”. “I was saddened when I first visited Sato School and there was no memorial. History is a fragile thing and I wanted the kids to know the truth … good and bad, so they can learn from it.”

The bronze plaque was produced at a costof $6200. Skanska Construction donated the concrete base and backing at a value of$6200. Bethany Presbyterian Church had donated $3000 but funding still needs to be raised to cover the rest of the cost. The Portland JACL is helping with that effort.

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Newsletter

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

Categories
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
Categories
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.

Categories
Events

Virtual Screening of The Orange Story

You’re Invited!

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Portland JACL is hosting a virtual screening of The Orange Story on Sunday, May 31 from 12-1:00 pm. The Orange Story is a narrative short film that tells the story of an elderly Japanese American man who is forcibly removed from his home after the signing of Executive Order 9066.

Orange story

Join us for the online screening and special community conversation with the film’s Producer, Jason Matsumoto.

How will it work?
RSVP at the link below. After RSVPing, you will receive a Zoom link and instructions on how to join the event on May 31.

RSVP by May 30 at https://tinyurl.com/Orange-Story

The event is free and open to the public. If you have questions and/or would like to request accommodations, please email us by May 28 at contact@pdxjacl.org

We look forward to connecting with you!

-The Portland JACL Board