Friday, February 19, 2016

Happy Civil Liberties Day!

The legislature declares that an annual day of recognition be observed in remembrance of Japanese Americans interned during World War II as a reminder that, regardless of the provocation, individual rights and freedoms must never be denied. RCW 1.16.090
February 19 is the "Day of Remembrance." On this day in 1942, Executive Order 9066 was signed. EO 9066 required the internment of all Americans of Japanese ancestry.

Washington State officially became the first and only state to recognize this day, in 2003 (see RCW 1.16.090 Legislative declaration for civil liberties day of remembrance). Some light legislative history research reveals that the bill (HB 1460) was passed unanimously.

The Washington State legislature made it official in 2003, but the history of the Day of Remembrance in Washington State dates back to 1978.

In fact, the nation's first Day of Remembrance was in Washington State. It was organized by the Evacuation Redress Committee and co-sponsored with many local organizations.

Here is a photo of Seattle Mayor Charles Royer signing a 1978 proclamation for the Day of Remembrance:

Mayor Charles Royer of Seattle, Washington, signs the proclamation for the Day of Remembrance, Nov. 1978, Seattle, Washington.
This photo, courtesy of the Kinoshita Family Collection, is from the Densho Encyclopedia, access it for more photos and Day of Remembrance history

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