Beginnings of CWRIC

How he got into politics “Work hard at the job you’re at” Beginnings of CWRIC Finding supporters for the bill Getting Jim Wright to sponsor the bill Findings of the commission report Bill 442 Speaker pro tem on the day the bill went to the House Citizen participation The last hurdle – President Reagan Signing of the bill “No racial profiling”

Transcripts available in the following languages:

About September, I don't recall when. September/October of '78, the officers of the JACL came back to meet with Senator Inouye, Senator Matsunaga, Congressman Matsui and myself. And Bob had been elected to Congress in '76; this is '78. So when we all assembled, I remember the first thing I said was, "Komatta ne?" which is, "Boy, we're in deep straights here." What do we do with this?

And so we had some real good conversations about it, and Senator Inouye said, "You know, we're not gonna get this passed until the American people know what happened. And once they know, then they will talk to their representatives and their senators and they will then get an idea about what went on. But until we get the public knowledgeable about this, we'll get nowhere on this issue." And he said, "There was the Warren Commission about the Kennedy assassination, and those commission reports, the hearings went on for a long time, they were on the news every night, they issued the Warren Commission report, that was on the news a lot, the commission report itself became a bestseller." He says, "That's what we've got to do."

And then he was talking about the Kent State killings, and I've forgotten the name of that commission, but he talked about that commission and he said, "Unless we get the hot focus of publicity on evacuation and internment, we're not going to get anywhere." And so Spark Matsunaga said, "Well, I've got this Native Hawaiian Claims Act bill, and maybe we can use that as a basis for this commission."

And I had a legislative director, brilliant young kid by the name of Glen Roberts, and his brother, Steve Roberts was a reporter for the New York Times. And Steve's wife is Cokie Roberts with CBS. And so anyway, Glen was sitting in on this meeting, and so he took Sparky's bill on Native Hawaiian Claims and then converted that to what became the Commission on Wartime (Relocation and Internment) of Civilians.

Date: July 4, 2008
Location: Colorado, US
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Congressman Matsui CWRIC government politics redress Senator Inouye Senator Matsunaga

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