Will Campbell's Manzanar Photo - click through for post
Sure, Angelenos are no strangers to the concept of a makeover. But when it comes to an egregious error on the part of elected officials—decades in the past—is it possible to get a do-over? County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas thinks that it might be possible, at least, for the LA County Board of Supervisors to try to facilitate some healing regarding one serious misstep taken by the board in 1942.
Specifically, when our country decided that certain broad swipes of our populace could not be trusted based solely on their ancestry, the LA County Board of Supervisors voted 70 years ago to pass a resolution urging the President of the US and Congress to proceed with internment as soon as possible. According to one of his aides, current LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas will introduce a motion to repeal that resolution at the 5 June 2012 meeting of the board.
We’ve blogged about the internment at blogging.la before, here and here. (And by “we” I mean Will Campbell!) It is certainly a dark page in the past of our nation, and one that we would like to think is mostly behind us. Alas, in the post-9/11 attitude toward Middle-Eastern Americans and the ongoing atmosphere of racial profiling and harassment that thrives under Joe Arpaio, perhaps that page hasn’t fully been turned just yet.
Still, steps such as this move by Ridley-Thomas—which on its face may appear not to change much of anything—can help to push the dialogue of greater racial tolerance and perhaps prevent further injustice as we progress as Angelenos, as Americans, as humans. In fact, this move will help to highlight the progress Los Angeles has made in overcoming institutional racism, as current Chief Executive Officer of LA County, William Fujioka, and the LA County Board’s Executive Officer, Sachi Hamai, are both Japanese Americans.
That, and everyone’s favorite Japanese-American actor and celebrity, George Takei, will also attend the board meeting and offer testimony in support of Ridley-Thomas’ motion. Goodness knows he’s familiar with the challenges of being a second-class citizen.
In the gallery below, view the board’s resolution as it was passed in January 1942.