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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

BREAKING: Cal State University to Issue Bachelor Degrees to Japanese Americans Interned in WWII

This is truly a bittersweet moment to hear:

The Trustees of the California State University system will issue honorary bachelor degrees to any CSU student who was forcefully sent to internment camps during World War II (1941 to 1943).

The SF State Golden Gate [X]Press reports that all trustees voted in favor bill AB 37.

There are many Japanese American CSU students who were in college at the time of the war and had no choice but to leave when President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 that forced all Japanese Americans on the west coast to evacuate to assembly enters, and eventually internment camps.

Executive Order 9066 is considered one of the worst modern day violations of civil liberties and human rights in the United States. It always puts tears in my eyes when the U.S. government finally said they are so sorry for committing such an atrocity and hardship on the interned Japanese Americans, and compensated them with $20,000.

It took the efforts of the JACL, NCRR, and advocates like my late grandmother, Tsukayo "Sox" Kitashima to campaign the government to issue a formal apology and designate funds to compensate the survivors, and that dream came true in 1989.

Today, in 2009, we can proudly say that the CSU system can now issue bachelor degrees to any surviving and posthumously students who had their lives shattered with the stroke of a President's pen.

It would truly be an honor to witness a commencement ceremony this year at SF State to have President Robert Corrigan issue that degree.

If you know any individuals that should be issued their bachelor's degree, or need to inquire about the passage AB 37, please contact: (562) 951-4723.

Please make sure to advocate to the appropriate CSU campus President to also hold a ceremony at their commencement ceremony in May.

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