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Conscience and the Constitution

36th Biennial National Convention

National Council Meeting
Monterey, California

Resolution Form


Recognition of and Apology to the Nisei Resisters of Conscience of World War II

Whereas, the JACL is one of the oldest and largest Asian Pacific American civil rights organizations in the country; and

Whereas, the purpose of the JACL is to uphold civil and human rights for all people; and

Whereas, the JACL Constitution states that "the organization and its members shall uphold the Constitution and laws of the. United States and the several states"; and

Whereas, the Constitution of the United States extends to its citizens the right to protest unfair treatment; and

Whereas, the JACL has participated in and learned from the civil rights movement of the 1960s that fighting for civil rights takes many forms including picketing, boycotting, lawsuits, lobbying, civil disobedience, etc. in efforts to challenge civil rights violations and unjust laws; and

Whereas, the Resisters of Conscience right to protest is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and is in keeping with the JACL constitution; and

Whereas, history is a great teacher and has shown the JACL that there is no easy and "correct" response, emotionally or politically, to a civil rights violation as massive and destructive as the evacuation and internment; that the various forms of protest by innocent and loyal Japanese Americans to overwhelming injustice are deserving of respect today; and

Whereas, the JACL took its first steps to acknowledge this at its 1990 National Convention; and

Whereas, an estimated 315 Japanese American men from the mainland and Hawaii resisted the military draft during World War II because of the United States government's unlawful evacuation of their families and as a result of their position these Resisters of Conscience faced arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment; and

Whereas, the JACL has recognized others, notably the Nisei veterans of World War II who made great sacrifices in defense of our country and who have won a place of honor and respect in the history of Americans of Japanese ancestry, and that both veterans and Resisters of Conscience made great sacrifices as principled Americans; and

Whereas, many of the Resisters of Conscience and their families were ostracized by members of their own community for their actions to fight for their constitutional rights; and

Whereas, the time has come for JACL of the 21st Century to display its leadership in this new millennium, to nurture the healing of divisions within our community; and to fully recognize the Resisters of Conscience.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Council of the Japanese American Citizens League recognizes the Japanese American Resisters of Conscience as a group of principled Americans; offers an apology for not acknowledging the resisters' stand of protesting the denial of constitutional rights and for the pain and bitterness this caused; and will recognize them at an appropriate public ceremony during the 2000-2002 biennium.

Co-authored by Florin, Golden Gate, Honolulu, and Sequoia Chapters & Pacific Northwest District Council
Dated: 4/27/00

Approved by: Mike Kaku, Sequoia Chapter President

Approved by: NCWNP
Signed: Alan Teruya Title: Vice-Governor
for John Hayashi NCWNP District Governor


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