JACL Celebrates Its 90 Years

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Celebrating a 90 Year Anniversary is a millstone which few organizations achieve. The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) has become one of those elite few.

Young leaders within the Japanese American community started the JACL in 1929 because they realized that they needed the clout of a national organization in order to gain the civil rights which they and their parents were routinially denied. Community leaders from multiple locations joined together to form the JACL. These were American citizens who were born in the United States of America of immigrant parents from Japan. They experienced racism and discrimination even though they were well educated college graduates. There were doctors, attorneys, lawyers, and business leaders within their ranks.

Over the years, the JACL has been at the forefront of fighting against racism and discrimination. Originally concerned with the sight of Japanese immigrants who were not allowed to become citizens of the United States after many years of living in this country and other issues of civil rights for Americans of Japanese ancestry, the JACL now champions the fight for civil rights for all people.

Membership in the JACL had been restricted to only those with American citizenship in the early days of the organization, but everyone is welcome now to join.

The ongoing mission of the JACL is to secure and maintain the civil rights of Japanese Americans and all others who are victimized by injustice and bigotry. The JACL also promotes cultural, educational, and social values ​​as they preserve the heritage and legacy of the Japanese American community.

Education was always stressed by the immigrant Japanese parents, and education continues to be a main focus of the JACL. They maintain a robust scholarship program for high school seniors entering college as well as graduate students.

This year the JACL will celebrate its 90 Year Anniversary with their annual convention which will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, from July 31 to August 4, 2019. An optional trip on the last day of the convention will be a trip to the Topaz Camp near Delta, Utah. This was one of the ten American concentration camps hastily constructed in remote areas of the country to incarcerate those people of Japanese heritage who were forced to leave their West Coast homes during World War II. Most of the 120,000 people lived in those camps for the duration of the war. Many suffered greatly from their unjust imprisonment. Members of the JACL want to make sure that no one else in the United States ever has to end such mistreatment and injustice as their families did.

The JACL is known to be the oldest and largest Asian American civil and human rights organization in the United States. This 90 Year Anniversary of the JACL is a good time to remember history.

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