The JACL National Council overwhelmingly passed the 2010 Power of Words Resolution (80 to 2) and the 2011 Emergency Resolution (55 to 17) recommending more accurate and truthful terms about the Japanese American community’s tragic World War II incarceration in American concentration camps. The huge votes made it a mandate. The new National JACL Power of Words committee commits to implementing the two resolutions, seeks your support and input.
Recommending the Power of Words terminology swings open the door to further raising public awareness about World War II’s valuable lessons for civil and human rights in today’s America. The Power of Words promotes the community legacy that’s so central to the work of the JACL, educators, historians, writers, organizations, activists, and many others in the community.
As explicitly contained in the resolutions, the Power of Words committee will recommend the terms contained in the two National JACL resolutions and will not recommend the euphemisms. We realize that some individuals might feel more comfortable with the euphemisms since the government has promoted them over the decades. People have a right to continue using them. We respect their personal choice.
Other people see the need to move beyond the old euphemisms. Additionally, some look to future generations of Americans more clearly understanding the shocking denial of freedoms, human dignity, property, homes, businesses, farms, and education, based on racism, war hysteria, and failure of political leadership of the times. The wartime euphemisms, popularized by government agencies, cloak this affront and were designed to obscure this mistreatment.
The Power of Words committee goals:
1. To prepare a clear, concise, and useable draft Handbook ready for approval of the National JACL Council by the July, 2012 JACL Convention in Seattle, Washington. The draft Handbook goal will be to write a useful guide rather than a lengthy book. It will be geared towards both the JACL and the broader public.
2. To seek public input and comment to improve our work which will be conducted in a transparent manner.
3. To consult with other Japanese American community organizations, as well as knowledgeable historians, educators, writers, and others, as specified in the 2011 emergency resolution.
4. To develop an implementation plan to distribute the Handbook and promote the more accurate terminology.
Join our campaign. Be educated. Be informed. Be involved. Only we can tell our story.
Click on the photo below for a link to a WWII propaganda video justifying the incarceration of Japanese Americans and the denyal of their civil rights. Terms used in this video are still utilized today and continue to perpetuate the use of misnomers and euphemisms and do not allow our community to tell the true and accurate story.