Today, we remember the signing of Executive Order 9066 seventy-five years ago in 1942, which authorized the internment of persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II.
The Japanese internment marked one of the darkest hours in U.S. history as the federal government legalized discrimination. Moreover, more than two-thirds of those interned were American citizens.
In his dissent opinion in Korematsu v. U.S., Supreme Court Justice Frank Murphy called it “legalization of racism” and wrote, “Racial discrimination in any form and in any degree has no justifiable part whatever in our democratic way of life.”
America is a nation of immigrants. As Americans, we must stand up for our resilient democracy, celebrate our vibrant diversity, and protect the rights of every person regardless of background. We must remember that what is legal is not always just. We must stand together and fight together for justice and equality for all.
Today, as we face a White House that wrongfully considers this Executive Order as a precedent for discriminatory executive actions and a president who threatens to roll back the civil rights advancements we have made, we must stand together and make sure that history does not repeat itself ever again.
Clark Lee, Esq.
State Chair, Asian Pacific Islander Caucus
California Democratic Party