City of Hood River
Acknowledges 75th anniversary of the forceful evacuation of Japanese Americans and all those of Japanese Ancestry from Hood River County on May 13th, 1942.
Whereas on February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, authorizing the military to forcibly remove and place into incarceration camps more than 120,000 Japanese Americans and legal resident aliens from the west coast of the United States, including 398 from Hood River County, causing said persons to suffer an immense economic loss of property, as well as immeasurable physical and psychological harm, and be deprived of their constitutional liberties without due process of law; and
Whereas on May 13, 1942, Hood River residents of Japanese ancestry, under military guard, were boarded on a train bound for the internment camps around the West; and
Whereas over 12,000 Japanese Americans responded to this unfounded mistrust of their loyalty and patriotism by volunteering for service in the United States Armed Forces; and
Whereas equally patriotic Japanese Americans struggled to protect our constitutional rights and liberties through dissent and civil disobedience, including Hood River native Minoru Yasui, who on March 28, 1942, deliberately defied the military curfew so that he could test the constitutionality of such discriminatory restrictions; and
Whereas Presidents Ford, Carter, and Reagan all signed legislation recognizing that the actions of Executive Order 9066 reflected a miscarriage of justice not justified by military necessity and that the decision to issue the order was shaped by “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership”, and in 1988 apologized on behalf of the nation for “fundamental violations of the basic civil liberties and constitutional rights of these individuals of Japanese ancestry”; and
Whereas when awarding Minoru Yasui the Presidential Medal of Freedom on November 24, 2015, President Barack Obama described Minoru Yasui’s legacy as “a call to our national conscience, a reminder of our enduring obligation to be the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave’ — an America worthy of his sacrifice”; and
Whereas across the country the Japanese American community observes the Day of Remembrance on February 19 of each year to educate the public about the lessons learned from the incarceration in order to ensure that it never happens again; and
Whereas at this time in history it is especially important that Oregonians recognize and cherish those who have come to Oregon as immigrants and refugees to pursue the American Dream for themselves and their families and to contribute to the economic and social vitality of this great state; now, therefore,
Be It Resolved:
That we, the members of Hood River City Council and the Mayor of Hood River recognize the historical significance of February 19, 1942, the date President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, restricting the freedom of Japanese Americans and other legal resident aliens; and be it further
That we in order to recognize and honor the sacrifice, heroism, and patience of the Japanese American World War II internees and veterans and to remember the lessons and blessings of liberty and justice for all, acknowledge the 75th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066; and be it further
That we support the goals of the Japanese American community to increase public awareness of these actions in recognizing the national Day of Remembrance each February 19th, Minoru Yasui Day on March 28th, and May 13th when they were forcefully evacuated from Hood River; and be it further
That we, along with the people of Hood River Oregon, pause to reflect upon the lessons learned from the Japanese American incarceration experience, appreciate the contributions that immigrants and refugees bring to our nation and commit to valuing all Americans, irrespective of their ethnicity, religion, or country of origin.
Approved, adopted, and effective this 11 day of May. 2017.
Paul Blackburn, Mayor
Jennifer Gray, City Recorder