| CLPEF Board of Directors and Staff
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Dale Minami, Esq. Chair
Susan Hayase Vice Chair
Father Robert Drinan, Leo K. Goto, Elsa H. Kudo, Yeiichi Kuwayama, Peggy N. Nagae, Esq., Don T. Nakanishi, Ph.D.
- Dale Shimasaki, Ph.D.
- Executive Director
| History of Civil Liberties Public Education Fund
As a part of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, the U.S. Congress authorized the establishment of the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund (CLPEF):
"to publish and distribute the hearings, findings, and recommendations of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) so that the events surrounding the exclusion, forced removal and internment of civilians and permanent resident aliens of Japanese ancestry will be remembered, and so that the causes and circumstances of this and similar events may be illuminated and understood."
The CLPEF mission, in essence, is to educate the public about the lessons to be learned from the internment. The lessons to be learned from the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II are embodied in Personal Justice Denied-Part 11, Recommendations. The CWRIC concluded:
"In sum, Executive Order 9066 was not justified by military necessity, and the decisions that followed from it-exclusion, detention, the ending of detention and the ending of exclusion-were not founded upon military considerations. The broad historical causes that shaped these decisions were race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership. Widespread ignorance about Americans of Japanese descent contributed to a policy conceived in haste and executed in an atmosphere of fear and anger at Japan. A grave personal injustice was done to the American citizens and resident aliens of Japanese ancestry who, without individual review or any probative evidence against them were excluded, removed and detained by the United States during World War II."
President Ronald Reagan signed into law the federal Civil Liberties Act of 1988 and in that act the Congress declared:
"The Congress recognizes that, as described in the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, a grave injustice was done to both citizens and permanent residents of Japanese ancestry by the evacuation, relocation, and internment of civilians during World War 11. As the Commission documents, these actions were carried out without adequate security reasons and without any acts ofespionage or sabotage documented by the Commission, and were motivated largely by racial prejudice, wartime hysteria, and a failure of political leadership. The excluded individuals of Japanese ancestry suffered enormous damages, both material and intangible, and there were incalculable loses in
education and job training, all of which resulted in significant human suffering for which appropriate compensation has not been made. For these fundamental violations of the basic
civil liberties and constitutional rights of these individuals of Japanese ancestry, the Congress apologizes on behalf of the Nation."
| Background and Accomplishments
The Board of Directors of the CLPEF were appointed by the President of the United States in January, 1996. On April 1, the Board was sworn in by Congressman Robert T. Matsui (CA-5th District). In May, 1996, the Board hired an Executive Director, a Deputy Executive Director, and a grant consultant. The Board later hired an Administrative Officer.
The Board had to achieve a complex task. On the one hand, they were bound by the mandates of Congress to educate the public about the lessons learned from the incarceration and to publish and distribute the findings of the CWRIC. Yet on the other hand, the CLPEF was a new agency. It had no address, no phone number, no fax machine or office to begin its operation. It essence, the Board had to create the agency at the same time it was developing its programs to implement the Congressional mandates.
Initially, the Board created three programs: 1) establishing a grant program to educate the public; 2) republish the report of the CWRIC, Personal Justice Denied, and to hire a contractor to transcribe the hearings of the CWRIC.
In addition, the Board also created a number of other programs and initiatives to implement its mission. All of the CLPEF's programs are described below.
Accomplishments of the CLPEF Grant Program
The largest program is the establishment of a new grant program to implement the mission of the CLPEF. This effort included holding several community meetings throughout the country and publication of grant criteria in the Federal Register to get public feedback on how the grant program should be formed.
In total, the Board issued 135 grants totalling $3.3 million through the grant program. The most outstanding characteristic of these projects is their enormous diversity. Not only do the projects teach the lessons learned from the incarceration, but they are also taught from so many different venues and perspectives. The different characteristics of diversity include:
- Projects located in 20 different states and the District of Columbia
Projects covering seven (7) subject areas including curriculum, landmarks/exhibits, art/media, community development, research, research resources, and national fellowships. These projects cover a wide diversity of projects and range in funding from $2,000 to $100,000.
Projects reaching different audiences: those who were never aware that the incarceration occurred, academic scholars, those viewing exhibits and monuments, law students learning the coram. nobis cases, those who are active in the Japanese American community, students in public schools and institutions of postsecondary education, and those who appreciate the arts, literature, and films, Southeast Asian and Chinese immigrant students, and African American and Latino students in low income communities.
Projects informing the public about the diverse experiences before, during, and after the incarceration: Nisei veterans, the role of Nisei women, Japanese Latin Peruvians, those interned at the Department of Justice camps, the effects of incarceration on Sansei and Yonsei, the experience of Hawaiians during World War 11, the role of the Military Intelligence Services, those who resisted incarceration, and the redress movement.
Projects recipients have diverse backgrounds and make meaningful contributions by teaching the lessons learned from the incarceration. They include museums, resource libraries, state arts and humanities councils, K- 12 school teachers, universities, research institutes, community colleges, National Asian American organizations, artists and theater groups, graduate students, those who were incarcerated and other talented individuals knowledgeable about the lessons learned from the incarceration.
On August 27, 1997, over 50 curriculum grant recipients, applicants, educators, and facilitators gathered on the campus of San Francisco State University for a Curriculum Summit sponsored by the CLPEF. The Curriculum Summit was a crucial component of the CLPEF mission to integrate the lessons learned from the Japanese American internment into the nation's education system. The CLPEF also assisted grant recipients by holding workshops throughout the country to help identify other sources of funding so that recipients can complete subsequent phases of their project. The CLPEF also published a resource guide entitled "Sound Systems: Managing Your CLPEF Grant."
On June 28-30, 1998, a national conference was held in San Francisco for all of the CLPEF grantees. Over 200 people attended the conference. With the co-sponsorship of the Asian American Studies Program of UC Berkeley, the CLPEF conference enabled grant recipients to present their projects and fiindings to potential publishers, media, education institutions, and to the public.
- CWRIC Transcripts and Personal Justice Denied
In addition to the grant program, the other two initial projects of the CLPEF were editing the transcripts of the CWRIC and republication of Personal Justice Denied.
Republication of Personal Justice Denied. In an effort to maximize resources and effectiveness, the CLPEF collaborated with the University of Washington Press in the republication of Personal Justice Denied. The new edition, released in January, 1997, includes the original report and recommendations of the CWRIC as well as a new Forward by Tetsuden Kashima, a Prologue by the CLPEF, and the recommendations of the CWRIC.
Transcripts of the CWRIC. The CLPEF issued a contract to edit over 4,500 pages of transcripts from the hearings of the CWRIC. These transcripts will provide a complete set of the transcripts which will be available to the public for future research, personal interest and review by the public. The CLPEF hopes to facilitate the publication of the transcripts before it closes its operations in August, 1998.
National Day of Remembrance
It had been 56 years since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had signed Executive Order 9066 which excluded, removed and detained Japanese Americans and legal residents during World War 11.
On February 19, 1998, the CLPEF held a National Day of Remembrance in Washington DC to reflect on the consequences of Executive Order 9066. To reflect on this day, the CLPEF sponsored a number of activities including:
A press conference, held at the National Press Club to educate the public on the lessons to be learned from the incarceration. The press conference provided national coverage in both the electronic and print media on this day.
A panel on coram nobis. A panel discussion was held in the afternoon at the National Museum of American History of the Smithsonian Museum. The panel brought together two of the four individuals who challenged the constitutionality of the incarceration and the attorneys who over 40 years later challenged the Supreme Court decisions more commonly referred to as the coram nobis cases. Participants included Gordon Hirabayashi and Fred Korematsu who issued legal challenges to the constitutionality of the incarceration. They were joined on the panel by attorneys, Mr. Rod Kawakami for Hirabayashi v. United States, Mr. Dale Minami for Korematsu v. United States, and Ms. Peggy Nagae for Yasui v. United States.
A Day of Remembrance Ceremony. Over 250 people from across the nation joined together for the National Day of Remembrance ceremony in Washington, DC. The event, held at the National Museum of American History, was co-sponsored by the CLPEF and the Smithsonian Institution. The program included remarks by 1. Michael Heyman, Secretary of the Smithsonian, Dr. Gary Okihiro of Cornell University, Mitsuye Yamada of University of California, Irvine, and a tribute to 15 Nisei baseball players who had just attended the opening of the "Diamonds in the Rough: Japanese Americans in Baseball" exhibit at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. The evening culminated with The Honorable Robert T. Matsui (Congressman, 5th District, CA) presiding over a candlelighting ceremony with eleven distinguished Americans commemorating those who were incarcerated without cause.
Public service announcement (PSA). To help educate the public on the incarceration, a public service announcement was produced featuring 10 second, 30 second and 60 second spots. The PSA was produced by Media Bridges and featured George Takei, best known for his portrayal of Mr. Sulu in the acclaimed television series "Star Trek." The PSA was aired in several media markets throughout the country just prior to and just after February 19, 1998. It is hoped that this PSA will be used by community organizations and the media in the years to come for future Day of Remembrance activities.
| Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC)
The CWRIC, a bipartisan commission established by Congress in 1980, was directed to "review the facts and circumstances surrounding Executive Order 9066, issued February 19, 1942, and the impact of such Executive Order on American citizens and permanent resident aliens... and to recommend appropriate remedies." The CWRIC fulfilled its duties with the 1983 unanimous report, Personal Justice Denied, and Personal Justice Denied - Part II, Recommendations. The reports were based on information gathered "through 20 days of hearings in cities across the country, par
ticularly the West Coast, hearing testimony from more than 750 witnesses: evacuees, former government officials, public figures, interested citizens, and historians and other professionals who have studied the subjects of Commission inquiry..." (Summary, Personal Justice Denied, P.1)
In Personal Justice Denied - Part II Recommendations, the CWRIC concludes:
In sum, Executive Order 9066 was not justified by military necessity, and the decisions that followed from it - exclusion, detention, the ending of detention and the ending of exclusion - were not founded upon military considerations. The broad historical causes that shaped these decisions were race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership. Widespread ignorance about Americans of Japanese descent contributed to a policy conceived in haste and executed in an atmosphere of fear and anger at Japan. A grave personal injustice was done to the American citizens and resident aliens of Japanese ancestry who, without individual review or any probative evidence against them were excluded, removed and detained by the United States during World War II.
The excluded people suffered enormous damages and losses, both material and intangible... An analysis of the economic losses suffered as a consequence of the exclusion and detention was performed... the total losses of income and property fall between $810 million and $2 billion in 1983 dollars. It has not been possible to calculate the effects upon human capital of lost education, job training and the like...
Less tangibly, the ethnic Japanese suffered the injury of unjustified stigma that marked the excluded. There were physical illnesses and injuries directly related to detention, but the deprivation of liberty is no less injurious because it wounds the spirit rather than the body. Evacuation and relocation brought psychological pain, and the weakening of a traditionally strong family structure under pressure of separation and camp conditions. No price can be placed on these deprivations.
These facts present the Commission with a complex problem of great magnitude of which there is no ready or satisfactory answer. No amount of money can fully compensate the excluded people for their losses and sufferings. Two and a half years behind the barbed-wire of a relocation camp, branded potentially disloyal because of one's ethnicity alone - these injustices cannot neatly be translated into dollars and cents. Some find such an attempt in itself a means of minimizing the enormity of these events in a constitutional republic. History cannot be undone; anything we do now must inevitably be an expression of regret and aff rmation of our better values as a nation, not an accounting which balances or erases the event of the war. That is now beyond anyone s power.
It is well within our power, however, to provide remedies for violations of our own laws and principles. This is one important reason for the several forms of redress recommended... Another is that our nation s ability to honor democratic values even in times of stress depends largely upon our collective memory of lapses from our constitutional commitment to liberty and due process. Nations that forget or ignore injustices are more likely to repeat them....
| Civil Liberties Act of 1988
The Congress recognizes that, as described by the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, a grave injustice was done to both citizens and permanent resident aliens of Japanese ancestry by the evacuation, relocation, and internment of civilians during World War II. As the Commission documents, these actions were carried out without adequate security reasons and without any acts of espionage or sabotage documented by the Commission, and were motivated
largely by racial prejudice, wartime hysteria, and a failure of political leadership. The excluded individuals of Japanese ancestry suffered enormous damages, both material and intangible, and there were incalculable losses in education and job training, all of which resulted in significant human suffering for which appropriate compensation has not been made. For these fundamental violations of the basic civil liberties and constitutional rights of these individuals of Japanese ancestry, the Congress apologizes on behalf of the Nation.
(excerpt from Public Law 100-383, Wartime Relocation of Civilians)
Based on the findings of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC), the purposes of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 ( enacted August 10, 1988) with respect to persons of Japanese ancestry include the following:
1) to acknowledge the fundamental injustice of the evacuation, relocation and internment of citizens and permanent resident aliens of Japanese ancestry during World
2) to apologize on behalf of the people of the United States for the evacuation, internment and relocation of such citizens and permanent resident aliens;
3) to provide for a public education fund to finance efforts to inform the public about the internment so as to prevent the recurrence of any similar event; and
4) to make restitution to those individuals of Japanese ancestry who were interned, and
5) make more credible and sincere any declaration of concern by the United States over violations of human rights committed by other nations.
| CLPEF Resolution Regarding Terminology
IIn the spirit of its mission, CLPEF Board is taking this opportunity to encourage the public, academia and governmental agencies to begin using accurate terminology with reference to the World War II internment experience. For instance, the terms "evacuation" and "relocation" have been widely acknowledged by historians and scholars as governmental euphemisms. In his Forward to Personal Justice Denied CWRIC Special Counsel Angus Macbeth reiterates those concerns:
The Commission has not attempted to change the words and phrases commonly used to describe these events at the time they happened. This leaves one open to the charge of shielding unpleasant truths behind euphemisms. For instance, "evacuee " is frequently used in the text; Webster's Third International Dictionary defines an evacuee as one "who is removed from his house or community in time of war or pressing danger as a protective measure. " In light of the Commission's conclusion that removal was not militarily necessary, "excludee" might be a better term than "evacuee. " The Commission has largely left the words and phrases as they were, however, in an effort to mirror accurately the history of the time and to avoid the confusion and controversy a new terminology might provoke. We leave it to the reader to decide for himself how far the language of the period confirms an observation of George Orwell: "In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible... Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. " (Personal Justice Denied, p. viii,)
While the CLPEF does not wish to dictate individual choice of vocabulary, it strongly urges grant applicants and the public at large to discontinue the usage of terms such as "relocation," "evacuation," and "assembly centers" as clearly misleading references for this historic event.
The CLPEF concurs with the alternatives suggested by, among others, the National Japanese American Historical Society's (NJAHS) in its publication, Due Process -Americans of Japanese Ancestry and the United States Constitution (1995, NJAHS, p. 48). Specifically, rather than "evacuation" or "relocation," the following terms for this event are more accurate: "imprisonment, incarceration, internment, detention, confinement or lockup." Rather than "assembly centers," the term "temporary detention centers" is an accurate alternative; rather than "relocation camps," "internment camps, detention camps, prison camps, or concentration camps" is more accurate; rather than "evacuee," "detainee, internee, inmate or prisoner" is more accurate. This is based on a comparison of the dictionary definitions of such terms and the documented facts of this historic period.
The Board recommends that grant applications, as a starting point, begin to utilize more accurate terms such as the above, keeping in mind that "Continued use of these misnomers would distort history... The choice of term must reflect the fact that the inmates were not free to walk out without getting shot." (Due Process, NJAHS, p. 48.)