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County supervisors rescind 1942 Japanese American internment vote

June 6, 2012 |  1:54 pm

Los Angeles County supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday to rescind their predecessors’ support of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

In January 1942, the then-supervisors unanimously approved a resolution to urge President Franklin D. Roosevelt to proceed with the internment, saying it was difficult “if not impossible to distinguish between loyal and disloyal Japanese aliens.”

Roosevelt issued order 9066 in February 1942, and nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans were held in camps for several years. Thousands of people of German and Italian descent were also interned.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas’ motion only addressed the detainment of Japanese Americans since the original motion did not address German or Italian Americans.

Actor George Takei, who portrayed Hikaru Sulu in the "Star Trek" series, testified about his experiences when he was interned as a young boy, spending several months living in a horse stall at  Santa Anita Racetrack before later being sent to a camp in Arkansas.

Takei urged the board to vote for the resolution, saying it would be an important reminder.

“We can face the future having extracted important lessons from our democracy,” he said.


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George Takei recalls 'degrading' internment of Japanese Americans

— Jason Song at the County Hall of Administration