San Jose State apologizes for campus’ role in WWII incarceration of Japanese American

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San Jose State University (SJSU) commemorated the Day of Remembrance of the incarceration of Japanese Americans by issuing a formal apology for the role the campus played in the injustice.

The 82nd anniversary: This year’s Day of Remembrance marks the 82nd anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt's signing of Executive Order 9066 in 1942, which led to the incarceration of over 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. Authorities forced Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans into incarceration camps.

SJSU’s apology: On Monday, SJSU in San Jose, California, acknowledged and apologized for its role in the dark chapter of history as a processing center for the local Japanese community, wherein 125 SJSU students were forced into internment camps.

“On behalf of San Jose State University, I apologize to the people who were processed on our campus,” SJSU President Cynthia Teniente-Matson said, according to ABC 7. "We can't turn back the clock, we can't undo the damage, but we can learn from what happened."

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“Never again is very important for Day of Remembrance and it's never again for anyone," added Yvonne Kwan, an assistant professor in Asian American studies at SJSU. “This is the story of Japanese Americans, but it's not just that. It's for everyone.”

Day of Remembrance event: The university held a Day of Remembrance event at the campus’s Yoshihiro Uchida Hall, which was named after an SJSU alum who experienced internment. The event featured personal stories, reflections and a commitment to acknowledging and learning from the past. There will reportedly be a forthcoming mural on the Hall that will further recognize the school's involvement in Japanese American incarcerations.

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