[Editor’s note: The following statement was issued by Sarah Baker, JACL VP public affairs, and Matthew Weisbly, JACL Education & Communications coordinator, and was lightly edited to adhere to AP Style and other journalistic conventions.]
After the Senate unanimously passed legislation to establish the Amache National Historic Site, located outside of Granada, Colo., as a part of the National Park System on Feb. 14, JACL Executive Director David Inoue said, “This is an important action by our nation in acknowledging the injustice that was inflicted upon the Japanese American community by our government.
“This will be an opportunity to share not only the injustice of what happened to those incarcerated at Amache, but also puts their story in the context of Colorado’s history and the bravery of Gov. Ralph Carr, who was the rare politician who stood up for the rights of Japanese Americans and opposed the incarceration. His steadfast values cost him his political career.”
The legislation was led by Colorado Sens. Michael Bennet (D) and John Hickenlooper (D), and Colorado Reps. Joe Neguse (D) and Ken Buck (R).
Amache was one of the 10 American concentration camps where nearly 120,000 people of Japanese descent were incarcerated during WWII under the false pretense of national security. Over 7,000 men, women, and children were at Amache, formally known as the Granada War Relocation Center.
The passage of this legislation comes in advance of Feb. 19, the 80th anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s signing of Executive Order 9066, which paved the way for the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans in the following months.
E.O. 9066 resulted in thousands of families becoming uprooted from their homes with little to no time to pack any belongings or set their affairs in order. The U.S. government issued a formal apology for what it had done through the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.
According to Inoue, JACL is looking forward to President Biden’s signature on this bill and the expanded opportunities for the American people to learn our nation’s dark history with an eye to how we can make our country better in the future.