NVC Newsletter

King County Council Resolution on the 75th Anniversary of EO 9066

February 2017, Volume 67, Issue 2

WHEREAS, seventy-five years ago, on February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, authorizing the United States military to forcibly remove and incarcerate over 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry, including 8,870 residents of King County; and

WHEREAS, this drastic course of action gave the United States army power to exclude whomever it saw fit under the guise of “military necessity” in response to racially inflected wartime hysteria; and

WHEREAS, more than 33,000 Japanese-Americans from Hawai'i and the continental U.S. responded to questions about their patriotism by mostly joining segregated military units, amassing a battle record unparalleled in United States military history; and

WHEREAS, nearly 300 Japanese Americans resisted the draft, refusing to report until their civil rights had been restored. The actions of these men proved to be deeply divisive among Japanese Americans, and the history of the draft resisters was largely suppressed in the community for some forty years; and

WHEREAS, Japanese Americans also challenged aspects of the exclusion. The cases of Gordon HirabayashiFred Korematsu, and Minoru Yasui were heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, with the Court ultimately upholding the legality of the racially based expulsion. These wartime convictions were later vacated in the 1980s; and

WHEREAS, in 1983, the federal Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians found "no military or security reason for the internment" of persons of Japanese ancestry, but determined the cause of the forced removal as "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership"; and

WHEREAS, “Never Again” has been the rallying cry for many Japanese Americans. This cry reminds us of the trauma of our nation’s persecution and unlawful detention of its own citizens; and

WHEREAS, through this travesty of justice, Japanese-Americans suffered immense economic loss of property and assets, immeasurable physical and psychological harm, and deprivation of their constitutional liberties and due process of law; and

NOW, THEREFORE, the Metropolitan King County Council pauses to acknowledge the seventy-fifth anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066; to recognize and remember the sacrifices of Japanese-Americans; defend the rights and liberties of other marginalized groups; and to honor the lessons and blessings of liberty and justice for all.