Sunday, August 9, 2020
Japanese American’s Fight for Rights Has Implications Today
Rod Tatsuno, who spent his infancy at the Topaz Japanese internment camp in Utah, chats with friends during the unveiling of a Smithsonian poster exhibit “Righting a Wrong” that opened Friday at the Community Library’s Regional History Museum in Ketchum’s Forest Service Park.
Wednesday, February 5, 2020


When President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 in February 1942, it didn’t come without pushback.

Minoru Yasui, an American lawyer and the son of Japanese immigrants, fought the order, which allowed the U.S. military to set up exclusion zones and incarcerate Japanese Americans following the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

His case was the first to test the constitutionality of curfews targeted at minority groups. And it went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court

Civil rights investigator Jessica Asai will discuss the legacy of Minoru Yasui’s case protesting war-time incarceration and its implications for citizenship and civil liberties today at 6 p.m. tonight—Wednesday, Feb. 5—at Ketchum’s Community Library.

The presentation is part of the library’s new Winter Read and focus on the Minidoka National Historic Site and Japanese American incarceration during World War II. It’s being offered in collaboration with the Minidoka Civil Liberties Symposium, a partnership between Friends of Minidoka, the National Park Service, Boise State University and the ACLU of Idaho.

Jessica Asai is Yonsei, or a fourth-generation Japanese American raised in Hood River, Ore., where her family has farmed for four generations. In 2010 she became a civil rights investigator for the Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Department at Oregon Health & Science University.

There she conducts international civil rights investigations, facilitates the reasonable accommodation process and provides advice and training to administrators, faulty and students concerning civil rights, equity and Title IX.

She is a founding member of the Oregon Asian Pacific American Bar Association and helped get attorney and civil rights activist Minoru Yasui nominated for a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.


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