[Editor’s note: The following statement was issued by JACL Executive Director David Inoue and VP Planning and Development David Lin and was lightly edited to adhere to AP Style and other journalistic conventions.]
The Japanese American Citizens League on Friday announced the launch of the JACL Centennial Education Fund at its 51st National Convention’s National Council Session to solidify its position as the leading Asian American voice telling the story of the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II and to secure its future such that the lessons from this tragic chapter of U.S. history will always be remembered. The campaign website is at jacl.org/centennial.
JACL Executive Director David Inoue said, “I am very excited, having watched this fundraising campaign from its inception to the launch today. We have a talented and committed staff and board of directors whose hard work and dedication will ensure a successful campaign to carry JACL into our next century as a nationally leading civil rights organization.”
As the oldest and the largest Asian American civil rights organization, JACL is uniquely positioned to tell the story of the Japanese American incarceration experience during World War II, the injustice for all those who were affected, the valor of those Japanese Americans who served in the Military Intelligence Service, 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team, etc., and most importantly, the lessons to be shared and learned by not only Japanese Americans, but by all Americans.
Recently, with more than 5,000 anti-Asian hate crimes and incidents committed against innocent Asian Americans around the country during the Covid-19 pandemic, it has become even more urgent and imperative that JACL redoubles its efforts in educating the American people about the painful lessons we learned as a community during World War II.
It is with this objective in mind that the JACL is launching this fundraising campaign to shore up JACL’s position in fulfilling its mission by providing those critically important educational programs, tools and resources managed or supported by the JACL National Council and National Board, such as teacher’s training workshops, curriculum guide, Power of Words, documentary films, etc.
“Deni and I are delighted to serve as the chairs of the JACL Centennial Education Fund Honorary Committee,” said former Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta. “As a camp survivor myself, I know from my personal experience the importance of sharing lessons like this through education, such that no Americans will have to suffer from such injustice in the future like I did when I was a teenager.”
JACL National President Jeffrey Moy said, “ This ambitious campaign is critically important for the JACL to redouble our efforts in providing educational opportunities and materials so that the United States of America can become a more perfect union for all Americans, regardless of their race, gender, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation.”
Carol Kawamoto, Chair of the JACL National Education Committee, said, “As an educator myself, I know the power of education in broadening people’s perspective every single day. I applaud and wholeheartedly support this fundraising campaign and we need to do more to educate the American public on the lessons we learned as a community”.
“It is my distinct honor and privilege to lead the JACL Centennial Education Fund campaign,” said David Lin, JACL vice president for Planning and Development. “We will raise the much-needed funds to sustain the JACL in furthering its mission to educate Americans about the tragic lessons of Japanese American incarceration during World War II, and in envisioning the next 100 years of civil rights in America, so future generations of Americans will be able to live in a more inclusive and more accepting society.”
Questions regarding this fundraising campaign may be sent to Lin at firstname.lastname@example.org.