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Hirono Introduces Resolution Marking Internment Camp Anniversary

February 25, 2016, 4:35 PM HST
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Advocates from the Asian American and Pacific Islander and Muslim communities joined Senator Hirono for the introduction of a resolution commemorating the internment of Japanese Americans. Photo courtesy Office of Senator Mazie Hirono.

Advocates from the Asian American and Pacific Islander and Muslim communities joined Senator Hirono for the introduction of a resolution commemorating the internment of Japanese Americans. Photo courtesy Office of Senator Mazie Hirono.

A resolution marking the anniversary of the issuance of Executive Order 9066 was introduced by Senator Mazie Hirono on Thursday.

The executive order led to the internment of almost 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II.

Senator Hirono had the support of advocates from various organizations who sat in the Senate gallery as she spoke on the floor.

“Seventy-four years ago, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which led to the mass internment of nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. While the internment is now recognized as one of the darkest periods in our nation’s history, we must not forget that Executive Order 9066 had widespread support at the time,” said Senator Hirono. “Today we hear echoes of the same sentiments directed toward members of the South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Arab, and Middle Eastern communities. Let’s stand together in solidarity in our American values that are rooted in compassion, respect for others, justice, and equality.”

Nevada Senator Harry Reid also spoke on the Senate floor, noting that “we should re-dedicate ourselves to fighting all forms of discrimination.”

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“Sadly, this sort of bigotry has been seen in recent months as Republicans call for barring people from the United States based on their religion and attack hard-working immigrant families,” said Senator Reid. “Discrimination is wrong in all its forms and, as this resolution shows, we must take a stand against it.”

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Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, said the resolution is an important and timely reminder of a dark chapter in the nation’s history.

“As some public officials today again stoke fear and hatred toward a group of Americans, this time based on their faith, it is crucial that Americans stand up and stand together against hate,” said Khera. “Now, more than ever, public officials must unite, not divide, the American people.  We commend Senator Hirono for her leadership and urge the Senate’s swift passage of this resolution.”

“We thank Senator Hirono for her leadership in introducing this resolution, especially because our nation must remember its history as we unite against hate, xenophobia, and bigotry,” said National Council of Asian Pacific Americans National Director Christopher Kang. “We remember the 120,000 Japanese Americans who were incarcerated during World War II–even though none was ever charged with a crime. Today is a time of high anxiety and increased rates of anti-Muslim rhetoric and actions, and NCAPA is more committed than ever to ensuring that policies and political rhetoric do not repeat the mistakes of the past in discriminating against any individual.”

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Senators Tammy Baldwin, Richard Blumenthal, Sherrod Brown, Maria Cantwell, Dick Durbin, Dianne Feinstein, Al Franken, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Patrick Leahy, Edward Markey, Barbara Mikulski, Chris Murphy, Patty Murray, Gary Peters, Harry Reid, Brian Schatz, Debbie Stabenow, and Ron Wyden have co-sponsored the resolution.

The measure is backed by a coalition of advocacy groups.

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