The tragic internment of Japanese Americans during World War II took a profound toll on 120,000 people on the West Coast – including 4,000 Oregonians – and the Oregon Senate is making sure that injustice is not forgotten.
Today the Oregon Senate voted 29-0 to pass Senate Concurrent Resolution 14, which acknowledges the 75th anniversary of Japanese American internment during World War II and recognizes Feb. 19 as the national Day of Remembrance of those events. In addition, the resolution honors Japanese American World War II veterans and internees.
“It seemed really important for us as a Legislature to recognize what happened back in World
War II, and it feels especially pertinent based on all the debate that’s going on in our country right now,” said Sen. Michael Dembrow (D-Portland), who co-carried the resolution on the
Senate floor. “People’s lives were devastated. If we don’t learn from history, why do we learn anything?”
On Feb. 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order authorizing the United States military to designate specified “military areas” and excluding certain individuals from those areas. A month later, Roosevelt issued another executive order establishing the War Relocation Authority and authorizing the director to create and execute a program to remove, relocate and supervise certain people. As a result, between 1942 and 1945, about 120,000 Japanese Americans and legal resident aliens residing on the West Coast – including 4,000 Oregonians of Japanese ancestry – were relocated and placed into internment camps.
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