Japanese American National Museum, Go For Broke National Education Center to Explore Civil Rights, Role of Nisei Veterans in Redress in New Exhibitions; Original Civil Liberties Act of 1988 from National Archives to Be Displayed
The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) and Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC) today announced new and expanded exhibitions that will explore social justice, due process and the role of Japanese American World War II veterans in the redress movement as the nation marks the 30th anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. The landmark Act, signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on Aug. 10, 1988, provided a formal government apology and monetary reparations to survivors among the approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans incarcerated without due process during World War II.
JANM’s “Common Ground: The Heart of Community” exhibition, which chronicles more than 130 years of Japanese American history, will unveil a newly expanded final section that further explores the unprecedented social and political campaign for the Civil Liberties Act and the historic accomplishments of the redress movement. As part of the opening celebration, two original pages of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, on loan from the National Archives in Washington, D.C., will be on display from Aug. 4 to Sept. 23, 2018. These will include the page with the signatures of President Reagan, Representative Norman Y. Mineta, and Senator Spark Matsunaga. (Mineta subsequently served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce and Secretary of Transportation.)
On Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018, at 2 p.m., JANM and GFBNEC will present “Reaffirmed Commitment: A Conversation with Norman Y. Mineta.” The program will feature Mineta, who, along with Sens. Matsunaga and Daniel K. Inouye, was a driving force behind the redress bill; and Dr. Mitchell T. Maki, GFBNEC President and Chief Executive Officer and co-author of the book “Achieving the Impossible Dream: How Japanese Americans Obtained Redress.” For more information, please visit www.janm.org. RSVPs for this program are strongly encouraged; click here. Admission to JANM and the program on Aug. 4 is pay-what-you-wish. JANM is located at 100 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012.
In a complementary exhibition, GFBNEC will host “H.R. 442: Nisei Veterans and the Fight for Civil Liberties,” from Aug. 4 to Sept. 16, 2018. The exhibition will explore the role of Japanese American WWII veterans in the fight for redress. Despite rampant discrimination and the incarceration of many of the soldiers’ families, the Nisei veterans’ selfless bravery became the moral foundation upon which the redress movement was built. Grant Ujifusa, a key player in the Japanese American Citizens League’s campaign to support redress, put it simply: “No Nisei soldier, no redress.” The special “H.R. 442” exhibition will be included with pay-what-you-wish admission to GFBNEC’s “Defining Courage” exhibition located in the historic Nishi Hongwanji building (now JANM’s historic building) at 355 E. First Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. For more information, please visit www.goforbroke.org.
Additionally, on Aug. 10-the anniversary of the actual signing date of the Act-JANM will again be pay-what-you-wish and will host an afternoon of reunion, reconnection and reaffirmation of its commitment to democracy and justice. JANM President and Chief Executive Officer Ann Burroughs, GFBNEC’s Maki, and an additional special guest will speak. Attendees will have the opportunity to pledge their ongoing personal commitments to civil liberties by signing a Commitment Banner. Group photos of those involved in the redress movement will be taken. RSVPs are strongly encouraged at www.janm.org.
“Thirty years after the historic achievement of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, the United States government is once again engaging in deeply unfair and discriminatory practices. But unlike the 1940s, when virtually no one stood up against the government’s reprehensible treatment of Japanese Americans, today JANM and others across the country are standing with those who are now the targets of prejudice, discrimination and exclusion,” Burroughs said. “Our commemoration of the Civil Liberties Act in August is the prime opportunity to remind the American people and our leaders of the grave injustices of the 1940s and of how easily the tragic lessons of the past are ignored when policy is determined by the politics of bigotry and discrimination.”
Maki of GFBNEC noted that the Japanese American redress movement has strong relevance in today’s political climate. “The redress movement reminds us that we must remain vigilant in protecting Constitutional rights for all, including equal justice under the law and due process,” Maki said. “As President Reagan said in signing the act into law in 1988, ‘For here we admit a wrong; here we reaffirm our commitment as a nation to equal justice under the law…. The ideal of liberty and justice for all-that is still the American way.'”
Note to Media: “Go For Broke” was the motto of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a segregated Army unit composed of Japanese Americans from Hawaii and the mainland. The term was Hawaiian slang for “shooting the works,” or risking everything for the big win in gambling-as the Nisei soldiers did while fighting in the field in WWII and facing prejudice at home in the U.S.
About the Japanese American National Museum
Established in 1985, the Japanese American National Museum promotes understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Japanese American experience. Located in the historic Little Tokyo district of downtown Los Angeles, JANM is a hybrid institution that straddles traditional museum categories and strives to provide a voice for Japanese Americans as well as a forum that enables all people to explore their own heritage and culture. Since opening to the public, JANM has presented nearly 80 exhibitions onsite and traveled 20 of its exhibitions to locations around the world, including the Smithsonian Institution and the Ellis Island Museum in the United States, and several leading cultural museums in Japan and South America. The museum’s core exhibition, Common Ground: The Heart of Community, chronicles 130 years of Japanese American history, from the early days of the Issei pioneers through the World War II incarceration to the present.
About Go For Broke National Education Center
Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that educates the public on the valor of Japanese American veterans of World War II and their contributions to democracy. Our goal is to inspire new generations to embody the Japanese American veterans’ core values of courage, sacrifice, equality, humility and patriotism. Founded in 1989, GFBNEC maintains the Go For Broke Monument and the interactive “GFBNEC’s Defining Courage Exhibition” in downtown Los Angeles, as well as extensive oral histories and archives, education and training programs, and other initiatives. For more information, please visit www.goforbroke.org.
About the National Archives
The National Archives is an independent federal agency that serves American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our Government, so people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. The National Archives ensures continuing access to the essential documentation of the rights of American citizens and the actions of their government. These holdings contain photos, videos, and records that chronicle the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, including records of the War Relocation Authority and photos taken by Dorothea Lange of the internment camps. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries, and online.
Director of Marketing and Communications For GFBNEC
Director of Marketing and Communications
Japanese American National Museum
Public and Media Communications
National Archives, Washington, D.C.