What is Day of Remembrance?

JLAs & Day of Remembrance

Get Involved

NEW! Resources – JLA Redress Update (02/2023)

CFJ at DOR 2023 Events (With Video Links)

What is Day of Remembrance?

The annual Day of Remembrance (DOR) commemorates the more than 120,000 U.S. citizens and immigrant residents of Japanese ancestry who were forcibly removed from their homes and held behind barbed wire in concentration camps and detention facilities in many parts of the United States during World War II.  It is observed on or near February 19th, the date in 1942 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, authorizing unjust mass exclusion and incarceration, and setting in motion the tragic events that have not been fully redressed after eight decades.

Day of Remembrance has become a community institution in Japanese American communities nationwide, with its roots in collective remembrance, education and activism. DOR events also bring together diverse communities in order to build mutual understanding, respect, trust, and solidarity.  Each year at this time, we reaffirm our commitment to uphold the fundamental constitutional and human rights of all people, especially the right to government redress and reparations of vulnerable or marginalized individuals or communities for violations whether perpetrated long ago, in the present, or in the future.

JLAs & Day of Remembrance

JLAs began raising the JLA experience at DOR events in the early 1990s. We helped to “break the silence” and counter the stigma and ignorance surrounding the internment in Department of Justice and US Army concentration camps and detention facilities. And over the decades, we continue to expand and make more inclusive the wartime and redress narrative. 

JLAs are exposing the historical truth of the US government’s domestic and foreign policies and actions which led to massive constitutional and human rights violations across two continents. We are educating ourselves and the public about the WWII treatment of the so-called “enemy” – over 31,000 immigrant residents and citizens of Japanese, German, Italian, and Jewish ancestry of the US as well as those seized from Latin America.  We are demanding accountability from our elected officials by securing reparations and a stop to the repetition of the abuses from our nation’s history. 

The traditional commemoration of DOR calls on the Japanese American (JA) community and the nation to remember, reflect, educate, and take action for social justice, particularly our right to government redress and reparations.  JLAs continue to respond to that call because

–JLAs are part of the JA community, which began in the camps and has continued through resettlement to today;

–JLAs and JAs have integrally related WWII and redress history, including exclusion, forced removal, extraordinary rendition, indefinite detention, hostage exchange, post-war deportation, and denial of redress and reparations arising from racism, nativism, wartime hysteria and failure of political leadership; 

–JLAs testified with JAs at the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians hearings and celebrated the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 (CLA) with JAs. 

–JLAs were excluded from the CLA due to the US government lie that JLAs entered the country illegally. Redress was restricted to only surviving US citizen or legal permanent resident of Japanese ancestry at the time of internment. The JLAs, as so-called “illegal aliens,” and thousands of other “enemy aliens” and US citizens of Japanese, German and Italian ancestry were deemed not worthy of redress.

–JLAs have not yet found justice in the US, even with the favorable ruling by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) that the US government owes reparations to the JLAs.

The JLA struggle for justice continues.  Phase 2 of the redress movement is underway. 

To learn more, please go to the Next Steps page.

Get Involved

      1. Spread the word about the ongoing JLA reparations struggle.
      2. Support teaching the Shibayama case in law schools.
      3. Bring the Enemy Alien Files: Hidden Stories of WWII exhibit to your community.
      4. Volunteer with CFJ or JPOHP.
        • Preserve JLA oral histories 
        • Help update the documentary Hidden Internment: The Art Shibayama Story 
        • Share your translation (Spanish, Japanese), website, social media, technical, and writing skills
        • Contact us to attend our Volunteer Orientation Session 
      5. Make a financial donation.
      6. Contact us to be on our mailing list for updates on these bills in Congress.
        • Neighbors Not Enemies Act to repeal the Alien Enemies Act of 1798
        • Korematsu-Takai Civil Liberties Protection Act to prohibit unlawful detention based on race, ethnicity, national origin, etc.
        • Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act (HR-40/S-40)
      7. Stay in touch by following the CFJ website, Facebook page, and Instagram.

      You can make a difference. Thank you!

      JLA Redress Resources

      The following resources are available for screening at DOR 2023, community events, and classroom sessions as well as sharing on websites and social media. Please help spread the word.

      NEW! JLA Redress Update (02/2023)

    • JLA Redress Update Video with Historical Background (2/2023 Video, 23 min)
    • “Get Involved” Slide (2/2023)
    • “CFJ & JPOHP Contact Information” Slide (2/2023)
    • CFJ Handout “2023 Day of Remembrance” page 1 (2/2023)
    • CFJ Handout “2023 Day of Remembrance” page 2 (2/2023)

Other Resources

Feb. 23, 12:00 – 1:30pm PST, Oakland, CA
An Interfaith Vigil of Remembrance & A Call for Liberation

Feb. 25, 2:00-4:00pm PST, Virtual
Day of Remembrance – Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute
“Campaign for Justice: The Japanese Latin American Story”

Event video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Fx5R7aWmSs
Panelists: Chieko Kamisato (former Japanese Peruvian internee), Grace Shimizu, and Phil Tajitsu Nash
Screening of “Hidden Internment: The Art Shibayama Story” documentary & update

Feb. 26, 1:00pm PST, Virtual
Day of Remembrance (Part 2) – Japanese American Memorial Pilgrimages
Event video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9t2QIYNN288&t=10s
“Solidarity & Allyship” – Live panel discussion and Q&A with:
Campaign for Justice: Brand Nakashima and Phil Tajitsu Nash
Tsuru for Solidarity: Becca Araki
Nikkei Progressives and Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress: Jennifer Noji and Mark Masaoka