Mitsuye Endo Recommended for the Presidential Medal of Freedom

May 16, 2015 • JACL, Politics

By P.C. Staff and JACL National Staff

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii sent a letter to President Barack Obama on May 11 urging him to award the
Presidential Medal of Freedom to Mitsuye Endo.

After being forcibly uprooted from her Sacramento home and incarcerated during World War II, Endo challenged her detention in a court case that was eventually heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. Despite a government offer to leave camp as long as she did not return to the West Coast, Endo voluntarily chose to remain incarcerated so that her case would continue through the court system. On Dec. 17, 1944, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in her favor, finding that the U.S. government could not continue to detain concededly loyal citizens without charges. The ruling made an immediate impact and allowed Japanese Americans to leave the camps and begin returning to their West Coast homes only two weeks later on Jan. 2, 1945.

JACL passed a resolution in support of Endo’s nomination at the 2014 National Convention.

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