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Last Updated on February 22, 2022 by BVN

BVN Staff |

Saturday, February 19 marked the 80th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, which led to the incarceration, ostracization, trauma, and economic losses of 120,000 people of Japanese descent, including approximately 80,000 American citizens.

In June 1942, Fred Korematsu sat alone in a San Francisco prison cell.  The young welder defied government orders forcing all persons of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast to leave their homes to live in detention centers. He received a surprise visit from Ernest Besig of the American Civil Liberties Union who wanted to represent Korematsu in a test  case to challenge the constitutionality of the Japanese evacuation order. Their first meeting would ultimately result in one of the most infamous U.S. Supreme Court cases in history—the 1944 Korematsu decision. Learn more here. (source:

Black Voice News is proud to join the organization Stop AAPI Hate and the Japanese American community in remembering the intergenerational trauma and harm resulting from unjust criminalization and incarceration.

As noted by Stop AAPI Hate, “We must continually acknowledge our history to protest discrimination and oppression today.

Located in California, Manzanar is the site of one of ten concentration camps in America where more than 120,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II from March 1942 to November 1945. (Source: California State Library).

This anniversary shows us that we have learned too little from the past. The United States’ actions with foreign countries continue to result in the villainization of communities at home. 

American Muslims and South Asians were targeted by discriminatory governmental policies after 9/11, including the Special Registration program, NSA surveillance and police profiling. Most recently, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, misinformation and inflammatory rhetoric from our political leaders sparked hate against not only Chinese Americans but all Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs).

“We saw two soldiers, marching up our driveway, carrying rifles with shiny bayonets on them. They stomped up the porch and with their fists began pounding on the door. The way I remember it, the whole house seemed to tremble. My father came out and answered the door and, literally at gunpoint, we were ordered out of our house,” actor George Takei, a five year-old boy in 1942, recounts on Late Night with Seth Meyers in 2019. (source:

As we remember the lasting pain and trauma of Japanese incarceration, this is a moment to change course. There are actions our federal and local governments can take immediately to demonstrate they are learning from history. We must put an end to policies that lead to the racial profiling of any community, including the China Initiative and Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programs. 

It is more pertinent than ever to educate on the Japanese American experience through the promotion of Asian American studies in schools. Finally, we must continue to invest in community-based safety solutions to protect all those who continue to be targeted with hate.”