Redress strategist and longtime New York resident Grant Ujifusa has pledged a substantial monetary gift to the Pacific Citizen in recognition of the decades of dedication to the newspaper performed by Harry Honda, who died in 2013.
Ujifusa said he would like the funds to help the newspaper pay current and new contributing writers and freelancers to bolster coverage of news about grassroots JACL chapters and members, as well as to develop fresh topics of interest to the Pacific Citizen’s national readership.
The funds will also help defray general operational expenses incurred in the P.C.’s continuing mission to produce in-depth feature stories and content that relates directly to the nation’s Japanese American and Asian American communities.
Ujifusa also said he wanted to honor Honda for his inspiring and stalwart presence and journalism career at the Pacific Citizen. Honda’s association with the newspaper included stints as editor, reporter and columnist, as well as general manager and editor emeritus — unparalleled at more than six decades.
According to Honda’s daughter, Patty Arra, her father’s association with the Pacific Citizen began in September 1952. Until his death on July 3, 2013, he was still contributing to the paper.
Ujifusa is the founding editor and longtime co-author of “The Almanac of American Politics,” first published in 1972 and still published today. Both George Will and Tim Russert called the book “the bible of American politics.”
Ujifusa served as JACL redress strategy chair from 1982-92, and his inside knowledge of how Washington worked was instrumental in the passage of HR 442, the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which was signed by President Ronald Reagan on Aug. 10, 1988.
For his effort on behalf of the bill, Ujifusa was made an honorary member of K Co. of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. In 2012, he was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays, by the Government of Japan for his indispensable work to pass, enact and fund the Japanese American redress bill.
About Ujifusa’s vital role in the Redress Movement, Robert Matsui called him key to the success of HR 442. Matsui described Ujifusa’s biennial publication as the “book behind redress,” with the late congressman writing, “Without Grant Ujifusa’s ‘Almanac of American Politics’ — and its immense prestige and clout in Washington — Japanese American redress would not have happened.
“All 535 members of Congress worry about what the book will say about them every two years, which enabled Grant to swing key Republican House members behind the bill. The ‘Almanac’ also created access to enough of Ronald Reagan’s time to tie redress to the personal memory the president had of fallen 442 hero Kaz Masuda.”