- 1 Background
- 2 Education/teaching
- 3 Political career
- 4 Supported by Council for a Livable World
- 5 2017 recipients annual 'American Courage Awards'
- 6 Comfort Women
- 7 Communist Party connections
- 8 Peace Pledge Coalition
- 9 2003 NCRR Day of Remembrance
- 10 Colombia Support Network letter
- 11 2006 letter to Condoleezza Rice on Colombia
- 12 2009 letter on Colombia
- 13 Congressional Progressive Caucus
- 14 Cuba trip
- 15 Calling on Israeli Govt. to lift Gaza Travel Ban
- 16 Supported Lifting the Gaza Blockade
- 17 Haiti Bill
- 18 Voted against cutting funding for ACORN
- 19 Asian American Action Fund
- 20 Vietnam trip
- 21 Staffer's trip to Venezuela
- 22 2010 trip to Latin America
- 23 Campaign to Make Immigration Reform a Top Issue in 2010
- 24 Committee to Stop FBI Repression delegation
- 25 Defending Suzuki
- 26 30th annual Day of Remembrance
- 27 31st annual Day of Remembrance
- 28 33rd annual Day of Remembrance
- 29 34th annual Day of Remembrance
- 30 Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
- 31 Immigration round table
- 32 Going after the Army
- 33 China connections
- 34 CPC San Francisco Jobs forum
- 35 Leading with Love
- 36 DACA help
- 37 DNC
- 38 No cuts rally
- 39 Letter on Iran sanctions
- 40 Writing in support of IPS event
- 41 Lifting travel ban on Cuba
- 42 Anti-Fracking legislation endorser
- 43 Fred Ross award campaign
- 44 PDA contact
- 45 Harris support
- 46 Radical intern
- 47 Honorary Chair Asian American Action Fund
- 48 Meeting NAKASEC
- 49 Friend of Eliseo Medina
- 50 Congressional Letter for Neutrality, 2014 Salvadoran Elections
- 51 Narrow primary win
- 52 NY fundraiser
- 53 Peace Action support
- 54 Progressive Change Campaign Committee
- 55 JStreet endorsement
- 56 ARA endorsements
- 57 2014 WOLA Awards
- 58 Iran deal/Iranian money
- 59 IAPAC money
- 60 Condemning Criticism of Islam legislation
- 61 Praising CAIR
- 62 CAIR banquet
- 63 United Muslims of America
- 64 Democratic Asian Americans of Virginia
- 65 Defending accused Chinese spies
- 66 C100 Annual Conference 2016
- 67 Russell Lowe connection
- 68 Staff
- 69 External links
- 70 References
Mike Honda was born in California, but spent his early childhood with family in an internment camp in Colorado during World War II. Mike’s father served in the Military Intelligence Service, while his mother, who is still living, served as a fulltime homemaker. His family returned to California in 1953, becoming strawberry sharecroppers in San José's Blossom Valley.
In 1965, Honda "answered President John F. Kennedy's call for volunteer service, enrolled in the Peace Corps for two years in El Salvador and returned fluent in Spanish and with a passion for teaching".
Mike Honda earned Bachelor's degrees in Biological Sciences and Spanish and a Master's degree in Education from San José State University. In his career as an educator, Mike was a science teacher, served as a principal at two public schools, and conducted educational research at Stanford University.
In 1971, Honda was appointed by then-Mayor Norman Mineta to San Jose's Planning Commission. In 1981, Mike won his first election, gaining a seat on the San José Unified School Board. In 1990, Mike was elected to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, where he led efforts to acquire and preserve open space in the county.
Mike Honda served in the California State Assembly from 1996 to 2000. In 2000, Mike was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and serves on the Appropriations Committee, with postings on Commerce, Justice, and Science, and Legislative Branch Subcommittees. As an Appropriator, Mike focuses on directing funding towards affordable healthcare, educational programs, worker training, port and border security, law enforcement and the safety of our neighborhoods, health care for our veterans and recovery from natural disasters.
Honda is currently the Chairman Emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) after spending seven years as Chairman. He continues his past work of coordinating with his colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucuses to champion the causes of under-represented communities by promoting social justice, racial tolerance, civil rights and voting rights. Additionally, as Co-Chair of the House LGBT Caucus, Mike Honda authored immigration legislation to reunite all families, regardless of orientation.
Supported by Council for a Livable World
The Council for a Livable World, founded in 1962 by long-time socialist activist and alleged Soviet agent, Leo Szilard, is a non-profit advocacy organization that seeks to "reduce the danger of nuclear weapons and increase national security", primarily through supporting progressive, congressional candidates who support their policies. The Council supported Michael Honda in his successful House of Representatives run as candidate for California.
2017 recipients annual 'American Courage Awards'
Other awards were given:
- The Bridge Builder Award to the Starbucks Coffee Company
- The Changemaker Award to Linda Sarsour "Civil Rights Activist and Leader of Women's March" (Presented by Ted Lieu)
- The President’s Award to Michael Honda former Member of Congress, U.S. House of Representatives
- "Korean American Communities Applaud Passage of House Resolution Supporting Redress for Former Comfort Women
- "JOINT STATEMENT ON THE UNANIMOUS BIPARTISAN PASSAGE OFHOUSE RESOLUTION 121 By:
- "(Los Angeles, CA) House Resolution 121, introduced by Representative Mike Honda (D – CA), states that Japan should formally acknowledge, apologize, and accept historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner, refute any claims that the issue of comfort women never occurred, and educate current and future generations “about this horrible crime while following the recommendations of the international community with respect to the ‘comfort women’.” Korean American communities are overjoyed with the news.
- "In 2001, Representative Lane Evans (D – IL) introduced the first ever resolution to address comfort women redress. Present on that day to announce the bill’s introduction was the late Soon Duck Kim, former comfort woman and a leading spokesperson from the House of Sharing (collective home for former comfort women based in Kwangju, Korea). Since that historic moment, Rep. Lane Evans and later Rep. Mike Honda have tenaciously re-introduced similar resolutions. After six years, H. Res. 121’s passage brings the former comfort women one step closer to justice.
- "About Comfort Women: During WWII, 300,000 women and girls were systematically raped and tortured by the Japanese military. 80% of the women were from Korea. Only 25% are estimated to have survived. Those who lived were often unable to return home out of shame and have lived a life of severe mental and physical trauma. For decades now former comfort women have shared spoken out demanding justice. But despite growing international pressure, Japan has refused to acknowledge its moral and legal responsibility, even omitting facts about wartime atrocities, including sexual slavery, from school textbooks."
CLW 2014 endorsement
Communist Party connections
In a report given to to the National Committee of the Communist Party USA and dated September 26 2001, California District Communist Party USA - Northern Region chair Juan Lopez, wrote extensively on Honda.
- California was a big bust for Bush and the Republicans.
- Joining with Los Angeles and other Southern California areas, the greater Bay Area counties, where the population is concentrated in Northern California and the labor movement is strongest, helped give Gore a big win in the state. With the exception of one county with 50 percent, Gore took the greater Bay Area by margins of 60 to 76 percent depending on the county, helping offset more conservative areas of the state.
- In addition, Democrat union member Mike Honda took back the seat from the Republicans in a spectacular victory in the 15th congressional district, in the San Jose-Silicon Valley area. He joined 3 other Southern California Democrats who captured seats from Republicans, altogether hugely contributing to Republican losses in the House...
- Time won't permit me to elaborate. But, even with all these victories in California, there is both the need and the potential to broaden, extend and deepen this winning electoral coalition in the post-election period -- beginning with the fight to keep Bush and the rightwing from stealing the elections.
- We are already part of this new fight. Generally our Party's membership and clubs were more active and united in these elections than I can recall. Among other things, it reflects a deeper involvement in coalition work in the past year...
- Labor organized and mobilized like I've never seen, in some areas working more closely with its allies, especially among African Americans and Mexican Americans. Along with women voters, labor and African Americans and Latinos were the core of the electoral coalition that dealt Bush and the Republicans a devastating defeat in California.
- One of those places was the 15th congressional seat in the San Jose-Silicon Valley area. The Republican candidate tried to tailor his campaign to the area. Without veering from the Republican agenda on basic economic issues, he emphasized his 'independence' from the Republican Party leadership, favored a woman's right to choose and bragged about his environmental record.
- But the Democrat with a strong working families record in the state assembly beat him 55 to 42 percent. Democrat Mike Honda embodies California's rich multi-cultural, working class experience. He is a union member of union member of the American Federation of Teachers, a former teacher and principal, who comes from a farmworker family of Japanese ancestry and who as a child spent time in an infamous American concentration camp during WW II...
- I want to cite one example. On the Saturday before the elections, our paper ran a very good article on the congressional races, highlighting Mike Honda among others, with a big picture of him. I asked if it was OK for me to pass the paper out, outside by the front door as the volunteers came streaming back for lunch. I was told, no!...Better yet: put copies on the tables where the workers would be having lunch and pass them out inside the campaign headquarters to those hanging around.
A 2002 report by Joelle Fishman, Chair, Political Action Committee, Communist Party USA to the Party's National Board, called for communist support for two California Congressional candidates-Michael Honda and Barbara Lee.
- The priority labor campaigns deserve our support. In addition our work will take us beyond these races to election districts where we have organization and where there are strong pro-labor candidates, African American, Mexican American and Latino candidates such as Rep. Mike Honda and Rep. Barbara Lee.
- Every district should consider where we can make a qualitative difference. What are the election campaigns where there is a labor or people's candidate, where we can participate in coalition to build a movement in that election district, and in the process build our Party...
- Certainly, we would not be making our special contribution to this crucial election if we were to approach our task in simply a narrow, immediate way. This gigantic election battle must be put into the broader context of the fight for an expansion of democratic rights, voter rights and voter participation. It must be put into the context of building political independence of labor and allies. In addition to union-based get-out-the-vote drives, what does political independence of labor and allies encompass?
- Perhaps in the first place, it means adding more Mike Honda's to Congress - electing more union leaders and activists to public office.
Endorsed Cindy Chavez
Cindy Chavez, a former South Bay Labor Council staff director, and 1999 Communist Party USA honoree, was elected to the San Jose City Council in 1998 and in 2006, served as vice mayor. Besides the Labor Council and many labor, community, environmental and political organizations, she was endorsed by U.S. Representatives Anna Eshoo, Mike Honda and Zoe Lofgren; Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; several former San Jose mayors; and seven current city councilmembers.
Though she was backed by labor and opposed by the Chamber of Commerce, Chavez emphasized bringing all segments of the community together to solve problems. As an example, she cited her leadership role on the council for the Children’s Health Initiative, which brings together public and private funding to provide health coverage to most uninsured children in Santa Clara County.
Dean on Honda
- One of my favorite elected leaders is Mike Honda, a congressman in California. I would do anything for this guy: He takes chances, he takes risk. He always sticks to his progressive values. Even when he is a minority, he never sways from his values.
Honored Amy Dean
In the house of representative, Wednesday, June 4, 2003, the Santa Clara County Congressional delegation - Anna Eshoo, Mike Honda and Zoe Lofgren, read a tribute into the Congressional Record to Congressional Record to Amy Dean, Chief Executive Officer of the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council, who was leaving the bay Area to return to her native Chicago.
- Through Amy Dean's leadership, the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council has been extremely successful in working for living wage contracts for city workers, affordable housing requirements in new developments, and health insurance for every child in Santa Clara County.
- Amy Dean has been a tireless and passionate advocate for social justice and has helped to strengthen the labor movement, bringing dignity and hope to countless families, whether they are union or non-union workers. Amy Dean was the youngest person in the country to lead a large metropolitan labor council and the first woman to head a labor council as large as the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council.
- She founded Working Partnerships USA, a non-profit organization dedicated to rebuilding the links between regional economic policy and community well-being. 
Peace Pledge Coalition
In 2007 90 Members of Congress, pledged in an open letter delivered to President Bush: "We will only support appropriating funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq during Fiscal Year 2008 and beyond for the protection and safe redeployment of all our troops out of Iraq before you leave office." The letter was initiated by the Peace Pledge Coalition. The Coalition was led by Tim Carpenter, Progressive Democrats of America, Bob Fertik, Democrats.com Medea Benjamin, CodePink, Bill Fletcher, co-founder of Center for Labor Renewal David Swanson, AfterDowningStreet.org, Democrats.com, Progressive Democrats of America, Kevin Zeese, Voters for Peace, Democracy Rising, Brad Friedman, co-founder of Velvet Revolution, Bill Moyer, Backbone Campaign.
2003 NCRR Day of Remembrance
The Day of Remembrance was commemorated 2003 in Little Tokyo with a program entitled “Race Prejudice, War Hysteria, Failure of Political Leadership: Then & Now,” presented by Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress (NCRR), Japanese American Citizens League/Pacific Southwest District (JACL), and the Japanese American National Museum (JANM), at JANM’s George & Sakaye Aratani Central Hall.
The NCRR Fighting Spirit Award was given to Janice Yen, community redress activist and a founding member of NCRR, and Los Angeles Human Relations Commission Executive Director Robin Toma was honored with the JACL Community Achievement Award. Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose) delivered the keynote address at the event emphasizing on importance of passing on the story of the Japanese American internment experiences to the future generations and criticizing the anti-Muslim American hysteria after the 9/11.
“Today, we are here at this museum because it is a depository of all the information. We have to ask ourselves why we are here. For me the answer is to pass on the information.
Guest speakers included Congressman Xavier Becerra and Omar Ricci of Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), touched on recent comments by Rep. Howard Coble and comparing the Nikkei World War ll experience with what many of the Muslim Americans have been going through since 9/11.
Becerra disagreed with Coble’s comments declaring that what happened 60 years ago to Japanese Americans was wrong.” However, he claimed that Coble would listen and acknowledge injustice of the internment if he had a right information. “I won’t give up on anyone just like Issei who believed in hope, justice and finally got a citizenship after all those years,” Becerra stated.
Flanked by former internees and leaders of civil rights organizations, Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose) called for the Republican Party to hold North Carolina Rep. Howard Coble responsible for comments he made endorsing the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.
Coble, chair of the House Judiciary subcommittee on crime, terrorism and homeland security, has refused to step down from his chairmanship or meet formally with Asian American mem-bers of Congress. In a Feb. 4 2003 radio in-terview he said, “We were at war. They (Japanese Americans) were an endangered species. For many of these Japanese Americans it wasn’t safe for them to be on the street.” He later issued a statement clarifying his position, but still insisting that President Roosevelt made his decision based on what “he felt was in the best interest of national security.”
Joining Honda at the press conference, were Kei Nagao, Nikkei Coalition for Redress and Reparations; Ken Inouye, Pacific Southwest District Japanese American Citizens League; Salam Al-Marayati, executive director, Muslim Public Affairs Council; Bill Watanabe, Little Tokyo Service Center; Stacy Toda, Organization of Chinese Americans; Guy Aoki, Media Action Network for Asian Americans; Frank Emi, wartime draft resister; Jim Matsuoka, a former internee at Manzanar; as well as representatives from the Japanese American Bar Association, Japanese American Cultural Community Center and Visual Communications.
The groups reiterated calls for Coble to step down as chair of the House subcommittee and expressed concerns that his statements reflected the eroding of civil liberties in American society.
“When you have ignorance com-bined with power that is the most dan-gerous formula you can have to lead our country,” said Al-Marayati. “As chair of this committee for homeland security it is no wonder that our policy on home-land security is a mess. We have suffered from 9/11 as an American people. Now we are suffering from hysteria, and prejudice, and lack of leadership. What took place 60 years ago, it is taking place again today.”
The San Jose congressman declared that the issue has underscored the ne-cessity that Japanese Americans continue to speak out on the internment.
“The reason why it is so important that Japanese Americans, Nikkeis especially, speak out today and speak out tomorrow and into the future is that we have to have this continuous learn-ing mode to make sure the other policy makers and other members of our society continue to learn what it is that we suffered, what lessons that were learned through our efforts in reparations, and the lessons we learned about the importance of the Constitution,” Honda said.
Colombia Support Network letter
The letter called on President Pastrana to end a military blockade on the Colombian town of San Jose de Apartado, a sister community of Madison Wisconsin, where the Colombia Support Network is based.
- We write to you to bring your attention to the humanitarian crisis facing the civilian population of the Peace Community San Jose de Apartadó and its outlying settlements.
- We urge the appropriate authorities of your government to dismantle the paramilitary checkpoint on the road between San Jose and Apartadó, ensure the continued safety of the road, and fully investigate recent threats and attacks on the Peace Community.
- The Peace Community San Jose de Apartadó and its settlements, including the village of La Union, receive the permanent accompaniment of international organizations.
- These include Peace Brigades International (PBI), as well as the U.S. Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), which currently has two US citizens in La Union. We support the work of these two respected organizations as well as the Peace Community in its effort to build a non-violent alternative to the conflict.
2006 letter to Condoleezza Rice on Colombia
Alleged Colombian Army killings prompted Fellowship of Reconciliation to work with Representative Sam Farr to forge a response that would impact the 17th Brigade, the unit allegedly responsible for the violence against San José de Apartadó and communities throughout northwestern Colombia.
- Letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
- (Deadline for Congressional representatives to sign: February 22)
- We applaud the decision, noted in your certification letter of August 2005, that the US "will not consider providing assistance to the 17th Brigade until all significant human rights allegations involving the unit have been credibly addressed." Because the Brigade is a component of the Colombian Armed Forces' command structure and has been implicated in the above referenced human rights violations, we implore you to abide by both the letter of the law and the spirit of the law by withholding human rights certification for Colombia until the following conditions are met:
Signatories included Michael Honda.
2009 letter on Colombia
From November 6th through December 7th 2009, a letter calling for change in U.S. policy towards Colombia was circulated through the House of Representatives. This letter called for a decrease in U.S. aid for Colombia's military and an increase in support for human rights and humanitarian efforts. The initiators of this letter were —Representatives James McGovern, Jan Schakowsky, Donald Payne, and Mike Honda.
- Dear Secretary of State Clinton,
- The FY 2011 budget will contain the twelfth year of a major aid package to Colombia—an aid package originally slated to phase out after six years.
- After eleven years, it is time to scale down assistance for Colombia's military and more systematically "Colombianize" such programs, within both the State Department and Defense Department budgets.
Congressional Progressive Caucus
In early April 2009, Rep. Barbara Lee led a congressional delegation to Havana for a 4-1/2 hour meeting with Raul Castro, telling reporters, "All of us are convinced that President Castro would like normal relations and would see normalization, ending the embargo, as beneficial to both countries." Reuters reported that Lee's delegation "avoided specifics" with Castro "but were struck by his humor, impressed by his involvement in Third World causes and firm in their belief that he wants to end U.S.-Cuba enmity."
The meeting between Castro, Lee, and five other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, took place in secret without the customary presence of a US State Department official. No reporters attended, and according to the New York Times, Cuban television, which covered the visit, offered no details of what was said.
Reps. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), Laura Richardson (D-CA), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Melvin Luther Watt (D-CA), and Barbara Lee. "Also particapating were Patrice Willougby, executive assistant to the Congressional Black Caucus, and Eulada Watt, wife of Congressman Mel Watt".
Bobby Rush said he found Raul Castro "to be just the opposite of how he's being portrayed in the media." AP quotes Rush as saying, "I think what really surprised me, but also endeared to him was his keen sense of humor, his sense of history and his basic human qualities." At times, Rush said, the lawmakers and Castro chatted "like old family members."
Lee says she wanted to influence President Barack Obama prior to the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Trinadad and Tobago.
Prior to the trip, Lee told her hometown Oakland Tribune newspaper that the US had to open up to Cuba, but did not demand that the Cuban government open up; she blasted US policy as "based on antiquated Cold War-era thinking." She could have used those words to describe her own views.
Michael Honda, from California, also accompanied the delegation, as did Patrice Willoughby, executive assistant of the Congressional Black Caucus, plus four military personnel from the Congressional Liaison Office under the orders of Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Wolf.
Calling on Israeli Govt. to lift Gaza Travel Ban
On Dec. 22, 2009, thirty-three U.S. Representatives wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, calling on her to request that the Israeli Government end the ban on student travel from Gaza to the West Bank. Michael Honda was one of the signatories of the letter. The entire letter together with a complete list of signatories can be read by clicking here.
Supported Lifting the Gaza Blockade
On Jan. 27, 2010, U.S. Representatives Keith Ellison and Jim McDermott led 52 other members of Congress in signing a letter addressed to President Barack Obama, calling for him to use diplomatic pressure to resolve the blockade affecting Gaza. Michael Honda was one of the signatories of the letter.  The entire letter together with a complete list of signatories can be read by clicking here.
In 2009, Barbara Lee and 10 other members of the House of Representatives have introduced a bill requesting an investigation into the Bush administration’s role in the 2004 "destabilization campaign and invasion" of Haiti. The original proposed legislation, called the Truth Act, has been submitted annually to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs by Congressperson Lee.
Lee stated in 2004: “We do not teach people to overthrow our U.S. government, and the Bush administration must not participate in the overthrow of other democratically-elected governments. The United States must stand firm in its support of democracy and not allow a nascent democracy like Haiti to fall victim to the Bush administration’s apparent policy of regime change.”
“Regime change takes a variety of forms, and this looks like a blatant form of regime change to me,” Congressperson Lee told Noriega. The bill, now known as H.R. 331, could make the congressional calendar for review in 2009.
The bill’s co-sponsors included Corrine Brown (Fla.), Chaka Fattah (Pa.), Michael Honda (Calif.), Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas), Dennis Kucinich (Ohio), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.), Donald Payne (N.J.), Charles B. Rangel (N.Y.), Jan Schakowsky (Ill.) and Maxine Waters (Calif.).
Voted against cutting funding for ACORN
In September 2009, following the lead of their Senate colleagues, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to cut off funds to ACORN. the vote was 345-75. All of the 75 were Democrats, and included Michael Honda. 
Asian American Action Fund
U.S. Rep. David Price, a Chapel Hill Democrat led a bipartisan delegation to monitor the work of the Department of Homeland Security in the Phillippines, Hong Kong and Vietnam, December 2012.
The trip was designed to give members of Congress a better understanding of the department's coordination with foreign governments to secure U.S.-bound cargo and work on anti-terrorism efforts and international adoption issues.
Most of the members sit on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, which Price chaired.
Staffer's trip to Venezuela
Rep. Honda sent Michael Shank, to Venezuela for 3 days in February 2010. The trip was courtesy of a $2,219.70 grant from the Institute for Policy Studies connected Center for Democracy in the Americas... "A fact-finding trip in Venzuela and other Latin American countries with the mission of fostering dialogue and improving U.S. policy and bilateral relations" .
2010 trip to Latin America
Rep. Honda traveled to Honduras and El Salvador for 3 days in May/June 2010. The trip was courtesy of a $4,107.39 grant from the Institute for Policy Studies connected Center for Democracy in the Americas... "Assess the situation in Honduras and El Salvador and current U.S. policy implications in the countries" .
Campaign to Make Immigration Reform a Top Issue in 2010
On October 13 2010 , immigration activists from around the country gathered to join in a vigil and rally in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC., where Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez and other elected officials launched a new push for comprehensive immigration reform, building to the opening months of 2010. their banners read “Reform Immigration FOR Families” and “Family Unity Cannot Wait.”
More than 750 people traveled to Washington on buses from up and down the Eastern seaboard and as far away as Texas, Florida, Ohio, Minnesota, and Michigan. They spent Tuesday morning meeting with Congressional offices before being joined by thousands of people from the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area, who gathered on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol to listen to testimonies from families, veterans, and children who face family disintegration because of immigration laws and deportation.
Religious leaders from a diverse array of faith traditions around the country, some organized through Familias Unidas, added their voices.
- At the event Congressman Gutierrez outlined a set of principles for progressive immigration reform that needs to include a rational and humane approach to legalize the undocumented population, to protect workers’ rights, to allocate sufficient visas, to establish a smarter and more humane border enforcement policy, to promote integration of immigrant communities, to include the DREAM Act and AgJOBS bills, to protect rights guaranteed by the Constitution, and to keep families together.
The lawmakers who joined Rep. Gutierrez on stage, and addressed the gathering included Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Chairman Rep. Michael Honda (D-CA), Congressional Progressive Caucus Chairs Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Congressional Black Caucus Member, Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Michael Quigley (D-IL), and Delegate Gregorio Sablan (Northern Mariana Islands).
Committee to Stop FBI Repression delegation
In mid November 2010, a delegation from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression ( returned home from several days of bringing the "issue of the FBI raids and grand jury subpoenas of people doing international solidarity work and anti-war organizing to the U.S. Capitol". Three supporters of the Marxist-Leninist Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack!, Deb Konechne of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, Anh Pham, who is facing a reactivation of her subpoena and Joe Iosbaker, whose home was raided, spent two days meeting with U.S. Representatives on the issue. The delegation asked each Congressperson to sponsor a “Dear Colleague” letter condemning the raids and grand jury subpoenas. In the two days, the delegation met with either the Congressional Representative’s staff or the Representative themselves fro[[m the following 16 offices: Tammy Baldwin (WI), John Conyers (MI), Danny Davis (IL), Keith Ellison (MN), Raul Grijalva (AZ), Luis Gutierrez (IL), Mike Honda (CA), Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL), Dennis Kucinich (OH), Barbara Lee (CA), Jim McDermott (WA), Jim McGovern (MA), Bobby Rush (IL), Linda Sanchez (CA), Jan Schakowsky (IL), Maxine Waters (CA). The "meetings were positive, with all the offices expressing genuine concern about the situation. In some cases, because of the outpouring of calls from around the country, the U.S. Representatives were aware that the delegation was in Washington D.C. and the offices made time on their schedules to meet with the delegation. This reinforces the continuing importance of the solidarity work taking place around the country."
Rep. Conyers (MI), chair of the Judiciary Committee, directed the Counsel of the Judiciary Committee to meet with the delegation. Also, Rep. Ellison (MN) and his Congressional staff met directly with the delegation for a significant amount of time. rep. Ellison sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, expressing concern over the situation and is continuing to work on options to support his constituents affected. The delegation also received face-to-face meetings with Rep Gutierrez and Rep Davis from Chicago. Rep. Grijalva’s (AZ) office set up a meeting between the delegation and the Executive Director of the Congressional Progressive Caucus in the Congress of which rep. Grijalva is the chair. In addition, the office of Jan Schakowsky (IL) and Maxine Waters (CA) gave the delegation significant time and attention.
“It was clear that progressive Representatives of the Congress are very concerned about the FBI investigation. Overall, they were very thankful for our visit and for the information and analysis given to them The level of awareness about the raids and grand jury was varied, from little to full awareness, but the delegation certainly changed that. After the two days, our presence and purpose definitely created a stir in the halls of Congress. “The fact that we were able to interact with 16 legislative aides or Congress people themselves, during an extremely busy time of restructuring leadership in the Congress, exemplifies the attention this matter is receiving”, stated Joe Iosbaker.
One early morning fall 2010, professor Masao Suzuki was in the driveway of his west San Jose home. As he tells it, his daughter was in the car, waiting to be driven to Prospect High School. Suzuki had just finished loading the things he’d need that day to teach economics classes at Skyline College into his trunk when a man walked up to him.
“’He said, ‘Are you Masao Suzuki? I said, ‘Yes I am.’ And he said, ‘I’m from the FBI,’ and he showed me his badge.”
Suzuki, a longtime local political activist, says the man tried to question him, but he refused. He says the man told him he would have to instead question his neighbors and co-workers.
“I just said, ‘I don’t want to talk to you,” Suzuki recalls.
Although he never heard from him again, there’s no doubt in Suzuki’s mind that the young dark-suited man was an FBI agent. Suzuki believes the visit was part of an FBI investigation seeking to convict him and other anti-war activists of terrorist activities under the PATRIOT Act. He believes this because on that same day—Sept. 24, 2010—the FBI raided the Chicago and Minneapolis homes of several of his colleagues—activists who’d organized protests at the 2008 Republican National Convention. In those raids, the FBI seized computers, cell phones and documents, and served federal grand jury subpoenas to 14 people.
In other parts of the country that day, at least 20 others were questioned. Last month new subpoenas were served on another group of activists. A total of 23 people have been ordered to appear at a Chicago Grand Jury on Jan. 25.
The search warrants issued by the U.S. District Court on Sept. 23 indicate that the FBI was looking for evidence related to a law prohibiting “material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations.” Suzuki is named on the search warrants issued to the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee along with others who were subpoenaed.
Suzuki is a 20-year member of San Jose’s Nihonmachi Outreach Committee (NOC), whose mission is “educating the public about the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.” In 2008, representing NOC, Suzuki joined a coalition of peace organizations who demonstrated at the September 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn.
A flier promoting the protest, which proclaims “U.S. Out of Iraq Now!,” names Suzuki as the contact and includes his cell phone number. This flier lists the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee and dozens of other participating organizations including CODEPINK, Veterans for Peace, the War Resisters League and dozens of Midwestern student groups, labor unions and peace centers.
Following the alleged encounter in his driveway last September, Suzuki says, he was shaken. He soon got wind of the FBI’s activities in Chicago and St. Paul. He says he warned his neighbors, his students and the vice president of his union—the [[A[merican Federation of Teachers]]—that the FBI might be calling on them. He also contacted an attorney, Dan Mayfield of San Jose.
Mayfield is a member of the National Lawyers Guild, a civil rights advocacy group that, along with the ACLU, is closely following this grand jury and the FBI’s activities. He says Patrick Fitzgerald, a high-profile U.S. attorney for northern Illinois, is taking the PATRIOT Act’s definition of “terrorist act” and a change in the definition of “material aid” from a recent Supreme Court case and putting them together to intimidate people and organizations.
“It’s unclear whether Fitzgerald wants to use this to run for higher office but we’ve seen this type of thing before—Rudy Giuliani started out as a U.S. attorney,” Mayfield says, adding: “Isn’t it interesting that Fitzgerald, a politically savvy holdover from the Bush administration, is interested in people who organized demonstrations against the RNC that was held in his backyard?”
On Dec. 2, Suzuki and representatives from the South Bay Labor Council, American Federation of Teachers, Council on American-Islamic Relations and the San Jose Peace Center met with Rep. Mike Honda’s aides. They had Honda send a letter of inquiry to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Honda’s office says it’s still waiting to hear back from Holder.
Mayfield says that since Sept. 24 there’s been a lot of push-back to the FBI’s moves. The National Lawyers Guild, the ACLU and hundreds of labor unions, state and federal legislators, and human rights groups have asked Holder to stop this grand jury. A new national organization, the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, is organizing demonstrations in 20 U.S. cities on Jan. 25.
Suzuki and Mayfield have organized an affiliate, the South Bay Committee Against Political Repression, which is holding teach-ins and a rally on Jan. 25 from 4 to 6 pm at the Martin Luther King Jr. Library at Fourth and San Fernando streets in San Jose.
30th annual Day of Remembrance
The 30th annual San Jose Day of Remembrance was held at San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin on February 14, 2010.
Emcee Will Kaku pointed out that the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 attributed the incarceration of Japanese Americans to "prejudice, war hysteria, and the failure of political leadership." "We need to hold all political leadership accountable for defending our civil liberties," he said. "Let us not forget the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who said 'injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.' There is much unfinished business and work we have to do in this community."
Gary Jio delivered the NOC keynote address, highlighting his speech with excerpts from songs from the 60's to the present. His message was twofold: Day of Remembrance was a huge influence during the redress movement, keeping redress and reparations for Japanese Americans in the public mind. To keep Day of Remembrance relevant today, it must tell the stories of the camps vividly enough to be felt personally, and relate to current civil liberties issues, such as Japanese Latin American redress and reparations, equality for members of the Muslim American and LGBT communities.
Grace Shimizu of Campaign for Justice described the hardships her father suffered when he was abducted from his home in Peru, to forced labor in a prison camp in the Panama Canal Zone, and incarceration in the Department of Justice camp in Crystal City, Texas. She urged support for H.R. 42/S. 69 that will commission an investigation into the Japanese Latin American experience during World War II and make recommendations it deems appropriate.
The traditional candle lighting ceremony, accompanied by shakuhachi master Kanow Matsueda, was narrated by San Jose JACL President Leon Kimura and NOC Chair Reiko Nakayama. As they called the names of the camps, the Shibayama Family, Art, Betty, Brian and Becki, lit the candles for each of the ten camps. The following candlelight procession through the streets of Japantown was led by banner bearers from NOC and Silicon Valley JACL.
- Congressman Mike Honda, a long-time supporter of NOC, urged the audience to take action on H.R. 42/S. 69 by contacting Congress members who are inclined to vote 'no' or are fence-sitting.
31st annual Day of Remembrance
More than 300 people packed the San Jose Buddhist Church hall on Feb. 20 2011, to attend the 31st annual Day of Remembrance event in San Jose. This event commemorates Executive Order 9066 that was issued on Feb. 19, 1942 and which led to the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans in U.S. concentration camps during World War II. The theme of the event was “Fighting Against Fear” which made connections the Japanese American experience during WWII and the attacks on Arab Americans and American Muslims today. The San Jose Day of Remembrance was organized by the Nihonmachi Outreach Committee (NOC), a grassroots community organization that was formed in the late 1970s out of concerns about the impact of corporate redevelopment on historic Japanese American communities.
The event was emceed by NOC member Masao Suzuki, who pointed out the forces of “racism, war hysteria, and political misleadership” that led to the World War II concentration camps for Japanese Americans were also at work today in attacks on Arab Americans and American Muslims. Jimi Yamaichi, who was sent to the concentration camp at Tule Lake, California, told the audience about his fight to join the local carpenters union, which excluded Japanese and other Asians before World War II. Jimi Yamaichi was also among 26 young men at Tule Lake who refused to be drafted into the U.S. military along with hundreds of others at other camps.
The special guest speaker for the evening was Zahra Billoo, the executive director of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations. Billoo commented on CAIR courage award that had be given to Mr. Yamaichi, and in turn was thankedd by the emcee, Masao Suzuki, for her work on his behalf after he had been questioned by the FBI in connection with the Federal Grand Jury targeting Midwest anti-war and international solidarity activists. Yasmine Vanya of the South Bay Islamic Association also spoke and thankedd the Japanese American community for their solidarity and support in the days following Sept. 11, 2001.
After the procession there was a short speech by Karen Korematsu, the daughter of Fred Korematsu. Fred Korematsu was one of three Japanese Americans who fought the concentration camps through the courts, eventually taking the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. While the 1944 Supreme Court ruled that the camps were legal because national security outweighed individual rights and allowed racial discrimination, this was overturned in 1983 when it was shown that the U.S. government deliberately lied to win the case. The state of California just celebrated its first “Fred Korematsu Day” on his birthday, Jan. 30.
The last speaker was Congressman Mike Honda, who represents the 15th district in San Jose. He spoke about how fear led to Japan bashing in the 1980s and compared this to the rising tensions with China today.
At the end of the program the Suzuki, reminded the audience about the continuing struggle of Japanese Latin Americans. The U.S. government held more than 2000 Japanese civilians from Latin America in Department of Justice prison camps at Crystal City, Texas and other sites to be used as prisoner of war exchanges. Japanese Latin Americans were excluded from the 1986 and 1988 redress (apology) and reparations (monetary compensation) awarded to almost all Japanese Americans held in concentration camps on the grounds that they “entered the country illegally” (true enough, since they were rounded up at the behest of U.S. government and brought to the United States at gunpoint). He urged the audience to support the Campaign For Justice (CFJ) efforts to establish an official commission to report on Japanese Latin Americans.
In addition to the record turnout, the audience had large number of young people from local colleges and a good turnout from the local peace and international solidarity movements and the American Muslim community. Local state assemblyman Paul Fong also came with a proclamation from the California state assembly commending the Day of Remembrance event.
33rd annual Day of Remembrance
On Feb. 17, 2013, the San José Day of Remembrance program commemorated the anniversary of Executive Order 9066 issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942. 300 people came to the San Jose Buddhist Church hall to remember E.O. 9066, which led to the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans in concentration camps during World War II. At the beginning of the program the emcee, Will Kaku, said that the official apology from the government stated that the concentration camps “were due to racial prejudice, wartime hysteria and a failure of political leadership. Although those words pertain to events from 71 years ago, they serve as a warning to us today.”
The first of the evening’s guest speakers was Molly Kitajima, a nisei, or second-generation Japanese American, who was born and grew up in Canada. She told the audience how the Canadian government not only put over 20,000 Japanese Canadians into concentration camps following the U.S., but went further by seizing their land under eminent domain and sold it off cheap. Ms. Kitajima also spoke of her trip to Cuba with other Japanese Americans and their meetings with Japanese Cubans. She ended by saying, “I stand, head high, with those who endured this hardship,” and continued, “I will stand up for others who would be discriminated against as I was.”
The theme of the program was “The Changing Face of America,” which was seen in the diversity of speakers. For the first time, the San José Day of Remembrance invited a speaker from the Sikh community, to express solidarity between Japanese Americans and Sikhs who have been harassed and killed in the years following 2001, and in particular the massacre at the Sikh gurdwara (temple) in 2012. Simran Kaur, Advocacy Manager for the Sikh Coalition, which formed in response to anti-Sikh violence after 2001, proclaimed “Let us stand up together!”
Another highlight of the program was the proclamation presented by the mayor of East Palo Alto, Reuban Abrica, to the Nihonmachi Outreach Committee (NOC), which has organized Day of Remembrance events for 32 years in San José. The proclamation was accepted by NOC’s chairperson, Reiko Nakayama.
The Day of Remembrance included a performance by the San José Taiko (Japanese folk drums), including a piece entitled “Day of Remembrance” to commemorate the event. Also speaking were the local Japanese American Congressman Mike Honda, and representatives of the Buddhist Church, the Wesley United Methodist Church and the South Bay Islamic Association.
34th annual Day of Remembrance
On Feb. 16, 2014, more than 250 people gathered at the Buddhist Church hall in San José Japantown to commemorate the 34th annual Day of Remembrance. Days of Remembrance events are held in Japanese American communities to commemorate Executive Order 9066, issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Feb. 19, 1942, which led to the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans in concentration camps during World War II. The San José event was organized by the Nihonmachi Outreach Committee (NOC).
The event was emceed by Reiko Nakayama of NOC, and began with an opening aspiration by Reverend Hajime Yamamoto of the Wesley United Methodist Church. The remembrance speech was given by Joe Yasutake of the Japanese American Museum of San Jose.
The next speaker was Sara Jaka, of the South Bay Islamic Association, which is located a few blocks from San Jose Japantown. She said that coming to the Day of Remembrance event made her feel both “fearful and hopeful,” hearing how actions then and now are driven by racial prejudice, but also seeing people coming together in solidarity.
The next speaker was Dale Minami, who was the lead attorney of the legal team that challenged Korematsu v. United States in court in 1983. Mainly made up of young Asian American attorneys, the legal team was able to show that there were no arrests of Japanese Americans for espionage. Further, they showed how the government prosecutors altered, suppressed and destroyed evidence, including reports from military intelligence that showed that there was no need for the camps.
Minamii said, “We need to remember the losses and humiliation of Japanese Americans. We also need to remember the triumph of redress [the official government apology issued in 1986] as part of the long march to social justice by the National Coalition for Redress and Reparations, the National Council for Japanese American Redress, the Japanese American Citizens League and others. This was made possible by the struggle of African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans who fought for civil rights.”
He went on to quote Fred Korematsu’s statement to court, who said in 1983: “I would like the government be shown wrong so it will never happen again.” Minami continued “The only victory is continued activism and education” and “justice is not a gift, it is a challenge.”
The Day of Remembrance included a performance by the San José Taiko )Japanese folk drums) and candlelight procession through Japantown. The evening ended with a closing meditation by Rinban Ken Fujimoto of the Buddhist Church.
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
In Oakland, California, hundreds of workers, youth, and activists rose to their feet to welcome Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis who opened the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance’s 3-day 11th biennial convention on July 22, 2011. Solis spoke of the employment crisis and the recovery of back wages for victims of wage theft, and was met with a standing ovation for her strong support for the DREAM Act. The convention’s lineup of speakers also included AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler, AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Lee Saunders, and SEIU President Mary Kay Henry.
In accordance with the theme, "Generations United: Our Jobs, Our Rights, Our Future!" the convention successfully outreached to 200 young leaders. Fiery testimonials were given by student activists and DREAMers Ju Hong and David Cho, as well as Pulitzer-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, who all shared their experience as undocumented immigrants and highlighted immigration as a key issue in the APA labor movement.
APALA honored labor and community leaders during the sold-out gala dinner, and the grand ballroom was at-capacity with over twenty APA elected officials including Congressman Mike Honda, Mayor Jean Quan and State Controller John Chiang joining convention goers for a reception and dinner Saturday evening.
Immigration round table
APALA was doubly represented at the NCAPA Immigration Roundtable in 2012, where Caroline Fan and Seattle chapter member Yuki Suren, an undocumented student, spoke movingly about the need for immigration reform and the DREAM Act, recognizing that about 10 percent of undocumented students are APA. Caroline said, "America was built out of the dreams and sweat of immigrant workers, and if we are going to be a prosperous, future-facing country, we need to include our most talented young people - regardless of immigration status."
Yuki shared her own hopes and experiences: "Passing the Dream Act will help me and many other good hard working people who just simply want to survive. It will help me to fulfill my dreams, serve my community and contribute to this nation which I consider my home. Please put yourself in my position, and do not punish me for the sacrifice that my parents made for a better life for me. Our immigration system especially victimizes immigrants' children who had no say in coming here."
Going after the Army
January 23, 2012, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Representatives Nydia Velázquez, Judy Chu, and Mike Honda, called on the U.S. Army to provide a comprehensive review on how the department tracks its hazing and harassment incidents and implements anti-hazing training. The urging by the four members of Congress comes after Army investigators found that a New York resident, Private Danny Chen, was subjected to daily race-based hazing and physical abuse by members of his platoon in the lead-up to his death. The lawmakers also requested details on what current measures are in place for soldiers in remote bases to report hazing incidents when their entire chain of command is implicated. Last month, Senator Gillibrand called on the Defense Department for a system-wide review of bullying and mistreatment. The Senator asked for a Department-wide review because of the case of Marine Pvt. Hamson McPherson, Jr., a Staten Island Marine who committed suicide, allegedly due to hazing.
Senator Gillibrand, along with Representatives Velázquez, Chu, and Honda wrote in a letter to U.S. Army Secretary McHugh, “We are very concerned about the reports of the constant hazing, apparently mixed with racial slurs, and other mistreatment by [Danny Chen’s] fellow soldiers and his direct superiors. We know you share our concern and take this issue very seriously, and we support the guidance issued in your hazing memo on January 13, 2012. Our men and women in uniform deserve to serve in a supportive environment from their fellow soldiers as they put their lives on the line for our country… However in light of this shocking incident, we would like to better understand the education and training process that are provided to Army soldiers and recruits regarding hazing and harassment among the force, as well as the repercussions and disciplinary measures taken in such incidents.”
“Nearly 30 years after Vincent Chin’s murder, our nation is shocked and saddened by another hate-induced tragedy,” said Congressman Mike Honda. “The hazing of Private Danny Chen, that allegedly caused his death, is an urgent call to action. We must act now to ensure that the Department of Defense has effective diversity training and stricter enforcement policies to guarantee that our service members – no matter their background – are able to safely and honorably defend the citizens and the Constitution of the United States. I hope that the House Committees on Armed Services and Oversight and Government Reform will take these warnings seriously and hold hearings in order to protect our brave service members from any future danger.”
Committee of 100, welcomes Luo Zhijun
Luo Zhijun, Governor and Party Secretary for Jiangsu Province, and his economic development delegation were hosted at a dinner in the home of H&Q Asia Pacific Chairman and Founder Ta-lin Hsu on July 17, 2011, in Atherton, California. A number of Committee of 100 members and members of Congress, and other special guests, attended. The delegation, representing the one of the wealthiest Chinese provinces, included members of the Jiangsu government as well as Jiangsu-based entrepreneurs including the CEO of the solar energy company Suntech, Shi Zhengrong. Governor Luo gave a brief talk introducing Jiangsu’s economic advantages, which was extensively covered in the Chinese press.
Hsu, along with members David Chang and Roger Wang, also assisted the delegation by introducing the delegation to Silicon Valley companies. Attending the dinner were U.S. Representatives Judy Chu, Mike Honda and David Wu, as well as former California Governor Gray Davis, Committee Chair Dominic Ng, C-100 members Pehong Chen, Wu-Fu Chen, Andrew Cherng, John Chiang, Weili Dai, Kenneth Fong, Doreen Woo Ho, George Koo, Stewart Kwoh, Li Lu, Dennis Wu, Jay Xu, Linda Tsao Yang, and Executive Director Angie Tang and Program Associate Alice Lin.
U.S. Rep. Judy Chu (CA-32), Chairwoman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus led the first ever CAPAC Congressional delegation to the People’s Republic of China, in September 2011. The primary purpose of the delegation was to promote U.S. exports and improve the U.S.-China relationship.
“This trip was a historic first for our caucus, and an important opportunity to build a more productive relationship between the United States and China,” said Chairwoman Chu. “With China’s growing presence in the world, we must develop a strategic approach to our U.S.- China relationship that moves beyond the rhetoric of fear and ignorance. While we may have legitimate differences and concerns, we also face shared challenges and economic fates that are closely intertwined. Through this trip, we were able to promote mutual understanding, explore increased trade opportunities, and develop key relationships that can benefit both nations moving forward.”
Committee of 100 Celebrates Lunar New Year on Capitol Hill
On February 14, 2012 Committee of 100 hosted a “Year of the Dragon” Lunar New Year Reception in Washington D.C. in the Gold Room of the Rayburn House Office Building. The guests were Asian Pacific American leaders, Members of Congress and Congressional staffers, media representatives, and other honored guests.
Committee of 100 Chairman Dominic Ng, Representative Judy Chu (CA-32), Representative Rick Larsen (WA-02) and Senator Daniel Inouye (HI) each addressed the approximately 120 guests. The Committee paid tribute to two members of the Committee’s Advisory Council, Irene Hirano and the Honorable J. Stapleton Roy, who were thankedd for their exemplary service and long-time support.
Other distinguished guests included: Representative Mike Honda (CA-15); Kenneth G. Lieberthal, Director of the John L. Thornton China Center of the Brookings Institution; Konrad Ng, Director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program; Kin Moy, Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs; C.H. Tung, founding Chairman of the China-United States Exchange Foundation; Steve Orlins, President of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations; and Eugene Robinson, Columnist and Associate Editor of The Washington Post and 2011 alumnus of the C-100 Journalist Delegation Program.
CPC San Francisco Jobs forum
After weeks of Republican attacks on President Obama in rural Iowa, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Barbara Lee on Tuesday August 17, 2011, took to the pulpit of an African American church in Oakland to hear directly from voters and defend the president and Democrats on the most critical issue of the 2012 presidential race - jobs.
"It is a time in our country when the American people know ... that serious job creation must take place," said Pelosi, speaking to reporters before addressing a supportive crowd of hundreds at the Acts Full Gospel Church in East Oakland, one of California's staunchest Democratic strongholds.
Dozens filed up to mikes to tell their stories of unemployment. The session, organized by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, was at times raucous, with some heckling or angrily chanting that it is time to "tax the rich."
Barbara Lee, who leads the Congressional Black Caucus, charged that Republicans, on the 224th day of their leadership in the House, had failed to produce a jobs bill or to deliver any solid proposals.
One participant in Tuesday's forum, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO of Green For All, an Oakland nonprofit that works for green jobs, said clean energy has the potential to alleviate poverty by bringing high-quality jobs to urban communities. 'The green economy'
"What's most exciting about the green economy is that it offers the possibility to have manufacturing again, to actually create things ... in both the private and the public sector," she said. "And the greatest growth sector right now is clean energy."
Ellis-Lamkins drew applause when she said that, too often, the focus of politicians is "about who is in the back of the room yelling the loudest."
"What the folks in Washington, D.C., would have us do is fight each other," she said. "I want to make sure the story of tonight is that people of color need jobs ... solutions and jobs."
Added Honda, "This is what I heard: class warfare. In America every worker deserves a good job. Strength in numbers is what's going to make the changes in this country."
Leading with Love
Members of the Host Committee included Mike Honda.
The Santa Clara County Deferred Action Network hosted a news conference followed by informational sessions and application guidance. Representative Mike Honda will be in attendance. August 15th: at the Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County Headquarters in San Jose, CA. Contact Mark Nakamoto.
- Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chair
- Donna Brazile, Vice Chair of Voter Registration & Participation
- R. T. Rybak, Vice Chair
- Linda Chavez-Thompson, Vice Chair Rep.
- Mike Honda, Vice Chair
- Raymond Buckley, Vice Chair, ASDC President
- Alice Germond, Secretary
- Andrew Tobias, Treasurer
- Jane Stetson, National Finance Chair
No cuts rally
Scores of seniors came to the U.S. Capitol October 2013, joined hands with Members of Congress, and formed a human chain in opposition to the Chained CPI formula and all benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The Congressional Progressive Caucus hosted the demonstration, as Alliance for Retired Americans members joined with Social Security Works and other allies. The event was emceed by Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Keith Ellison (D-MN). Other Members of Congress at the event included Reps. Cheri Bustos (IL); David Cicilline (RI); Yvette Clarke (NY); John Conyers (MI); Elijah Cummings (MD); Rosa DeLauro (CT); Alan Grayson (FL); Mike Honda (CA); Steven Horsford (NV); Barbara Lee (CA); Sheila Jackson Lee (TX); Alan Lowenthal (CA); Dan Maffei (NY); Carolyn Maloney (NY); Jerrold Nadler (NY); Mark Pocan (WI); Jan Schakowsky (IL); Mark Takano (CA); and Paul Tonko (NY).
Letter on Iran sanctions
The National Iranian American Council commended Rep. James Moran (D-VA) and "all twenty-one Members of Congress who sent a letter to President Obama April 4, 2014, supporting necessary action to ensure medicine and humanitarian goods are not unintentionally blocked for the Iranian people. NIAC strongly supported the letter and has consistently worked to raise awareness regarding the impact of sanctions on the Iranian people"...
- The preliminary nuclear agreement brokered by the P5+1 and Iran included an agreement to establish a financial channel to facilitate humanitarian trade; however, medicine shortages have continued in part due to extensive financial sanctions on Iran and the reported unwillingness of banks to facilitate legal, humanitarian transactions.
Signers: James P. Moran (D-VA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Andre Carson (D-IN), William Lacy Clay (D-MO), John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Sam Farr (D-CA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Rush Holt, Jr. (D-NJ), Mike Honda (D-CA), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Jim McDermott (D-WA), James McGovern (D-MA), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Beto O'Rourke (D-TX), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).
Writing in support of IPS event
Rep. Mike Honda wrote an article, with Ami Carpenter, an assistant professor at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at University of San Diego, for The Huffington Post - "What America Can Learn From El Salvador in Ending Gang Violence about El Salvador" in advance of an Institute for Policy Studies-supported event, Wednesday January 13, 2013: "The Obama administration should take a cue from El Salvador, which has adopted a far less confrontational approach to gangs, and is seeing a drop in gang violence as a result.Both of us have worked and traveled extensively in Central America -- El Salvador in particular, which has its own MS-13. "
- Earlier this year, in an effort to curb the violence, the government in El Salvador negotiated a groundbreaking deal with the Salvadoran MS-13 and a rival gang, Calle-18. In a bold move, mediators in El Salvador essentially extended the framework of humanitarian engagement to gang warfare, brokering a peace treaty between the two gangs and the Salvadoran government. After the deal, homicides decreased by 32 percent and kidnappings by 50 percent, as reported by the New York Times. In May, the gangs extended their truce to school zones and agreed to end forced recruitment of child soldiers...
- The U.S. -- and gang-plagued Mexico -- should heed the progress made in El Salvador and recognize that the standard methods to end violence aren't working. Creative, innovative solutions are needed. This Salvadoran example is one that should be tried, showing that everyone from the community to local elected officials to law enforcement needs to be brought in to truly end violence on a large scale.
- The truce established in El Salvador may be unusual, but it is most certainly benefiting the people of that nation, and may serve as an interim solution to a very real and dangerous epidemic.
Lifting travel ban on Cuba
- Due to your action/emails/phone calls we have 59 signatures from House representatives urging President Obama to support travel to Cuba by granting general licenses for ALL current categories of travel.
- By eliminating the laborious license application process, especially for people-to-people groups, that is managed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the majority of the bureaucratic red tape that holds up licensable travel to Cuba would disappear and actually facilitate what the President wanted to see in 2011, liberalized travel regulations.
Signatories included Rep. Honda.
Anti-Fracking legislation endorser
On March 14, 2013, Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) have introduced the Bringing Reductions to Energy’s Airborne Toxic Health Effect (BREATHE) Act, and the Focused Reduction of Effluence and Stormwater runoff through Hydraulic Environmental Regulation (FRESHER) Act, in order to ensure that the hydraulic fracking industry follows the same rules that other industries do in preserving our natural resources. This legislation is focused on ensuring the safety and the health of the communities where the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, process is already taking place.
The BREATHE Act would ensure that we close the oil and gas industry’s loophole to the Clean Air Act’s aggregation provision, in addition to adding hydrogen sulfide—a chemical associated with nausea, vomiting, headaches, and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat—to the Clean Air Act’s federal list of hazardous air pollutants.
The BREATHE Act has the following original co-sponsors including: Reps. Rush Holt, Jr., Raul Grijalva, John Sarbanes, James Moran, Michael Quigley, Earl Blumenauer, Gerry Connolly, Zoe Lofgren, Michael Honda, Paul Tonko, Barbara Lee, David Price, Carolyn Maloney, Michael Capuano, Mark Pocan, Jim McDermott, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Alcee Hastings, Keith Ellison, Niki Tsongas, William Keating, Adam Smith, Jim Langevin, Chellie Pingree, Judy Chu, Louise Slaughter, Jerrold Nadler, Grace Meng, Jan Schakowsky, Nita Lowey, Jared Huffman, Gary Peters and Alan Lowenthal.
The following organizations have endorsed this legislation and are actively working to garner support within Congress and throughout the country: Physicians for Social Responsibility, Natural Resources Defense Council, Earthjustice, Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, Sierra Club, Earthworks, Breast Cancer Action, Clean Water Action, Environment America, Greenpeace, Nature Abounds, Oil Change International, Citizens for a Healthy Community, Citizens for Huerfano County, Clean Water Action Colorado, Erie Rising, Grassroots Energy Activist Network, Holy Terror Farm, San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council, SOS Foundation, Western Colorado Congress of Mesa County, Western Slope Conservation Center and Wilderness Workshop.
Fred Ross award campaign
In early 2013, mainly Democratic Socialists of America aligned activists, together with many elected officials across the United States came together to urge President Barack Obama to award posthumously the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the legendary organizer, Fred Ross, Sr.. The Saul Alinsky trained radical was the first to organize people through house meetings, a mentor to both Cesar Chavez and DSAer Dolores Huerta, and a pioneer in Latino voter outreach since 1949 when he helped elect Communist Party USA affiliate Ed Roybal as Los Angeles’s first Latino council member, "Ross’ influence on social change movements remains strong two decades after his death in 1992".
Congressional endorsers of the proposal included Mike Honda.
In 2013 Progressive Democrats of America assigned activists to deliver their material to almost every US Congressman and Senator, Tom McCarter was assigned as the contact for Rep. Honda. In June it was Yvonne Shevnin, Al Lampell, and Louise Lynch.
Steve Phillips May 27, 2014
Proud to join CA Attorney General Kamala Harris in standing strong with Congressman Mike Honda as he stands for reelection — with Shari Rubin-Rick, Sophia Yen and Aimee Allison at Pacific Heights Neighborhood.
- Fulfilled candidate-voter relationship needs: served as a representative between campaign office and current or potential donors
- Revamped and examined voter and donor information database
- Coordinated local delegate events
- Used information to formulate qualitative and quantitative reports
- Formulated Congressman's briefs for upcoming meetings with large donors
- Initiated independent projects
- Canvassed local voters
Honorary Chair Asian American Action Fund
According to Jane Yoo, NAKASEC, the Korean American Resource and Cultural Center in Chicago and the Korean Resource Center in Los Angeles participated in the April 10th 2013 “Time Is Now” rally for citizenship and immigration reform. Thousands of immigrants and supporters from across the country gathered to call on Congress for a swift introduction of a comprehensive immigration reform bill.
Among the participants was 17 year old Faustin Combe, a FYSH and KRCC member from Chicago who shared her painful story of being separated from her father and brother who are currently in the Philippines. Joining her was HyunKyu Lee, a recent DACA recipient, undocumented youth and organizer with KRC who also spoke in Asian American and Pacific Islander press conference with the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans and Senator Mazie Hirono and Reps. Judy Chu Congressman Mike Honda.
During the main immigration rally, Son Ah Yun, executive director of NAKASEC spoke to the crowd about the impacts of the broken immigration system on Asian American communities and the need for immigration reform. She said, “We are tired of being separated from our families through long backlogs and deportations. We are tired of women being an afterthought. We are tired of our young people unable to go to school. We are tired of immigrants being treated as criminals and living in fear.”
In the morning, NAKASEC participants also delivered 1,267 signatures in support of family unity to offices of the “Gang of 8” Senators, as well as to Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), Reps. Ed Royce (R-CA), John Campbell (R-CA) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA).
Friend of Eliseo Medina
- Earlier this month on the National Mall, five courageous individuals were huddled in a tent fasting from food and drink to call attention to the urgent need for immigration reform. These advocates joined together to push forward their effort "Fast for Families: A Call for Immigration Reform and Citizenship," which is drawing nationwide attention.
- I was honored to meet with these fasters, and was quite moved to hear their personal stories. One of them, my friend and SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina, said, "I know that going without food will not be easy and I know that I will suffer physical hunger. But there is a deeper hunger within me, a hunger for an end to a system that creates such misery among those who come here to escape poverty and violence in search of the American dream."
Congressional Letter for Neutrality, 2014 Salvadoran Elections
On Monday December 16, 2014 Reps. Juan Vargas (D-CA), Mike Honda (D-CA) and Mark Pocan (D-WI) sent a letter to Sec. of State John Kerry – signed by 51 Members of Congress – calling for a public statement of neutrality by the State Department before the first round of El Salvador’s presidential elections on February 2, 2014.
The letter, , highlighted several “important steps” that the current government has taken to “strengthen its democratic system and expand the right to vote to all citizens,” including those living outside of the country, who will be voting by absentee ballot for the first time in February. Since the election of Mauricio Funes, the first President from the Marxist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) party, the government has increased the number of polling places four-fold to increase accessibility, especially in rural areas.
“We’re glad to see so many Members of Congress expressing respect for the right of the Salvadoran people to determine their own future. That’s an attitude that’s sorely lacking in much of the US’ policy in Central America, especially with regard to economic policy,” said Alexis Stoumbelis, Executive Director for the pro-communist Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), in Washington, DC, which has observed every post-war election in El Salvador, starting in 1994..
Narrow primary win
In 2014 longtime Congressman Mike Honda was challenged by Ro Khanna, a patent attorney and former Commerce Department official in the Obama administration. The Democratic Party, trade unions, and groups including MoveOn.org and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee backed Honda. A range of Silicon Valley corporate moguls, including leaders of Yahoo, Google, Facebook and PayPal, supported Khanna. Honda won by a narrow 4 percent.
- Invite you to attend an evening reception honoring Silicon Valley’s representative US Congressman Mike Honda
Peace Action support
In the 2014 mid terms, six of the eight pro-peace candidates in battlegrounds that Peace Action prioritized won election: Senators Jeff Merkley (OR), Al Franken (MN), Gary Peters (MI), Jeanne Shaheen (NH) and House members Mike Honda (CA) and Rick Nolan (MN). [The two who lost Bruce Braley (IA) and Carol Shea-Porter (NH).]
Progressive Change Campaign Committee
In 2014 Progressive Change Campaign Committee helped 5 candidates from the "Elizabeth Warren wing" of American politics including Ruben Gallego (AZ-7), Brian Schatz (HI-Sen), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Mike Honda (CA-17), and Pat Murphy (IA-1) defeat more conservative opponents in tough 2014 primary battles.
JStreet endorsed him again in 2016.
- Rep. Honda has been a strong advocate of pro-Israel, pro-peace initiatives in Congress.
2014 WOLA Awards
- Former Rep. David Bonior
- Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)
- Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
- Sen. Christopher Dodd
- Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN)
- Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY)
- Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA)
- Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)
- Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)
- Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA)
- Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA)
- Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)
- Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI)
- Rep. John Lewis (D-GA)
- Rep. James McGovern (D-MA)
- Rep. James Moran (D-VA)
- Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)
- Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
- Former U.S. Sec. of Labor Hilda Solis
- Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT)
Iran deal/Iranian money
In 2015, in the House, the Democratic recipients of Iranian American Political Action Committee money came out for the Iran nuclear deal. Mike Honda, one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Iran Lobby backed the deal, As did Andre Carson, Gerry Connolly, Donna Edwards and Jackie Speier.
Condemning Criticism of Islam legislation
On December 17, 2015, Rep. Don Beyer, Jr. introduced legislation condemning "violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States." The legislation is based on unsourced claims that there is a "rise of hateful and anti-Muslim speech, violence, and cultural ignorance," and a "disproportionate targeting" of "Muslim women who wear hijabs, headscarves, or other religious articles of clothing...because of their religious clothing, articles, or observances." The resolution, H.Res.569 - Condemning violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States 
The legislation was cosponsored by Rep. Michael Honda, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Joseph Crowley, Rep. Andre Carson, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Rep. Betty McCollum, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Rep. Dan Kildee, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, Rep. Charles Rangel, Rep. Scott Peters, Rep. Brad Ashford, Rep. Alan Grayson, Rep. Mark Takai, Rep. Brian Higgins, Rep. William Keating, Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Rep. G.K. Butterfield, Rep. Gerry Connolly, Rep. Ruben Gallego, Rep. Cheri Bustos, Rep. John Delaney, Rep. Kathy Castor, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Rep. Michael Quigley, Rep. Elizabeth Esty, Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, Rep. Robin Kelly, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, Rep. Gregory Meeks, Rep. Grace Meng, Rep. Al Green, Rep. Katherine Clark, Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Alcee Hastings, Rep. Sam Farr, Rep. Frank Pallone, Rep. Jim McDermott, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Donna Edwards, Rep. Robert Brady, Rep. Frederica Wilson, Rep. Michael Doyle, Rep. Albio Sires, Rep. Suzan DelBene, Rep. Judy Chu, Rep. Jared Polis, Rep. David Loebsack, Rep. Bill Pascrell, Rep. Debbie Dingell, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Rep. Steve Cohen, Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, Rep. John Yarmuth, Rep. Niki Tsongas, Rep. Jim Langevin, Rep. Mark Pocan, Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Rep. Mark Takano, Rep. Tim Ryan, Rep. Jose Serrano, Rep. Hank Johnson, Rep. Paul Tonko, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Rep. Lois Capps, Rep. David Price, Rep. Doris Matsui, Rep. Gwen Moore, Rep. Denny Heck, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Rep. John Carney, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Rep. Eric Swalwell, Rep. John B. Larson, Rep. Dina Titus, Rep. Peter Welch, Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Rep. Jim Himes, Rep. Matt Cartwright.
“I applaud CAIR for their outstanding work in encouraging leadership, bolstering civic participation, and promoting social activism. It is only through the commitment and contribution from organizations such as CAIR that the concerns of the American Muslim community are heard.” - Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) (September 2014). 
More than 1,000 people turned out November 2006 at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) banquet in Arlington, Va., to hear addresses by several elected officials, including Keith Ellison, the first Muslim in Congress.
The event raised more than $620,000 to support CAIR's civil rights and advocacy work on behalf of the American Muslim community.
Elected officials who spoke at the sold-out event included Representative-elect Ellison (D-MN), as well as Reps. Mike Honda (D-CA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) and Albert Wynn (D-MD). Ellison and Jackson Lee offered their addresses by video. Saqib Ali, who was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates (District 39) on November 7, was also in attendance.
Other speakers included Special Agent in Charge Joseph Persichini, Jr. of the FBI's Washington Field Office, Fairfax County Police Chief Col. David M. Rohrer and Amy Goodman of Democracy Now. Most members of CAIR's national board also took part in the banquet, which was emceed by Julia Shearson of CAIR-Ohio's Cleveland office.
Several Muslim community members received CAIR Islamic Community Service Awards during the dinner. The annual CAIR Rosa Parks Civil Liberties Scholarship went to Raashida Muhammad of Stillman College.
United Muslims of America
"American Muslim Women: Building Alliances, Upholding Democracy and Defending Civil Rights" was the theme of 32nd annual convention of the United Muslims of America (UMA). The convention, held on February 23, 2013, at the Chandni Restaurant, in Fremont/Newark, drew large crowd from different ethnic and faith groups.
The UMA is perhaps the first American Muslim organization which acknowledged and honored the contributions of Muslim women, particularly in the post-9/11 America> when the seven-million strong Muslim American community became target of institutionalized profiling, bigotry, discrimination and hate.
Four prominent women activists of California, Feriall Masry (Democrat candidate for California State Assembly in 2010), Samina Sundas (Founding Executive Director of American Muslim Voice), Syeda Reshma Inamdar (Director of the League of Women Voters of California), Ameena Jindali (Islamic Networks Group-ING) and Safaa Ibrahim (President of CAIR-SFBA) shared their experience of civic and political activism.
Congressman Mike Honda was the keynote speaker. He is a staunch supporter of Muslim cause. In November 2010, Mike Honda introduced a legislation recognizing the cultural and religious significance of Eid al-Adha.
Sabahat Rafiq Sherwani, a civic activist and an the ING board member, was the MC of the program.
Shafi Refai, President of the United Muslims of America, welcomed the guests on behalf of UMA. He pointed out that 9/11 is a significant incidence in the history of the United States> and many things have changed since that horrific incident. He went on to say:
“ Unfortunately for American Muslim, our community was on receiving end of the vast majority of that backlash. Many opportunists, who we call Islamophobes, like Ann Coulter, Pamela Geller and others, made it their full-time business to demonize Islam and Muslims. Even President Obama has not been spared, as he is accused of being a Muslim in spite of his repeated denial.”
Democratic Asian Americans of Virginia
Yasmine Taeb May 20, 2015:
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month festivities continue! Thank you to my colleagues at the Democratic Asian Americans of Virginia for organizing a phenomenal event tonight. It was a packed house! Many thanks to Congressmen Mike Honda, Mark Takai, and Congressman Bobby Scott for joining us. Thank you also to friends from the Arlington County Democratic Committee, Fairfax County Democratic Commitee... See More — with James T. Tsai, Mark Takai, Hung Nguyen, Dewita Soeharjono and Linh Hoangmeister at Minh's Vietnamese Restaurant.
Defending accused Chinese spies
November 17, 2015, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) Chair Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) and CAPAC Members Rep. Ted Lieu (CA-33), Rep. Grace Meng (NY-06), and Rep. Michael Honda (CA-17) held a press conference to call on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the recent cases against Chinese American scientists who were wrongfully suspected of economic espionage. They were joined by Sherry Chen, a U.S. citizen and employee of the National Weather Service in Ohio, as well as Dr. Xiaoxing Xi, a U.S. citizen and Interim Chair of the Physics Department at Temple University. Both Ms. Chen and Dr. Xi were arrested and indicted for various charges and suspected of economic espionage, only to have all charges against them later dropped. The press conference comes one day before a CAPAC meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
C100 Annual Conference 2016
The list of "official supporters of the Committee of 100 National Conference in April 16 2016, in Beverly Hills included;
- Edmund G. Brown Jr., Governor of the State of California
- Eric Garcetti, Mayor of the City of Los Angeles
- Cui Tiankai, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the United States
- Penny Pritzker, U.S. Secretary of Commerce
- Cory Gardner, United States Senator
- Mark Kirk, United States Senator
- Ed Royce, Member of Congress, Chairman, House Foreign Affairs Committee
- Charles Boustany, Member of Congress
- Adam Schiff, Member of Congress
- Xavier Becerra, Member of Congress
- Mike Honda, Member of Congress
- Ted Lieu, Member of Congress
- Judy Chu, Member of Congress
- Liu Jian, Council General of the People’s Republic of China in Los Angeles
- Anthony Rendon, speaker of the California State Assembly
- Ed Chau, member of California State Assembly
- Betty Yee, California State Controller
Russell Lowe connection
Former US Congressman Mike Honda (right) and Russell Lowe, the Secretary General of the Education for Social Justice Foundation, spoke about their efforts to publicize the comfort women issue in the United States during a visit to the Hankyoreh’s office in the Gongdeok neighborhood of Seoul on Oct. 15 2017.
“I think the Abe administration’s policies and Abe’s remarks themselves are evidence of anti-intellectualism. They say there’s no [corroborating] evidence, but since there are obviously documents showing that the Japanese government systematically mobilized and kidnapped women, the Japanese government ought to take responsibility. That’s why the Kono Statement was released. It’s not so much that there’s insufficient evidence as that there’s a lack of moral leadership in the current Japanese government,” said former US Congressman Michael Honda, 76. Honda dismisses as “nonsense” the claims of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Japanese government that there was nothing compulsory about the mobilization of the comfort women for the Japanese Imperial army.
Also present at the interview was Russell Lowe, 62, Secretary General of the Education for Social Justice Foundation, a San Francisco-based civic group, who agreed with Honda’s view. This is how Lowe put it: “It’s not true that there aren’t any documents. One of the problems is that these documents aren’t able to be disseminated in American society because they’re written in Chinese, Japanese and Korean. That’s why one of the priorities of our foundation’s educational efforts is properly communicating the facts about the comfort women in American society.”
Honda paid a visit to the Hankyoreh on Oct. 15 2017 along with Lowe, who is working with Honda in California to improve how American society views education, minority rights and the comfort women issue, as well as Chang Lee, a planning commissioner for Glendale (a city in Los Angeles County), who joined Honda and Lowe, orchestrated the construction of a comfort woman statue in Glendale in 2013. Honda emphasized the importance of the fact that 10th grade students in the San Francisco Unified School District will be taught about the comfort women issue as of next March for “the first time in the US.”
“California is the first state in the US to include the comfort women issue in school curriculum, but classroom teachers are having quite a hard time because they don’t have any syllabuses or lesson plans. We have currently tested lecture material that we’ve developed,” Honda said. The development of these lecture materials is being handled by Education for Social Justice Foundation (ESJF), which works closely and successfully with San Francisco Unified School District. to development of these lesson plans . ESJF works with a social organization called the Comfort Women Justice Coalition.
Honda has often said that he took the lead on the comfort women issue because “it’s the right thing to do…I think that Abe may be letting his personal feelings get mixed up in these historical issues. Japan’s political history overlaps with his personal history, since both his maternal grandfather Nobusuke Kishi and Kishi’s brother Eisaku Sato served as prime ministers,” Honda said.
Noting that Abe “inevitably looks like a politician who is adept at lying considering how he keeps changing his story about the comfort women,” Honda added that it might be effective for Japan’s crown prince, who may change things up, to propose “a prudent and responsible solution to the comfort women issue.”
Lowe, a Chinese-American who spent 20 years as the aide to Dianne Feinstein (former mayor of San Francisco and chair of the US Senate Intelligence Committee), says that the Japanese government’s problematic treatment of the comfort women issue began in the 1980s. “That’s when the Japanese government started pouring millions of dollars into a lobbying campaign aimed at American scholars and researchers. Since the majority of whites aren’t aware of this, they’re confused by the claims of the Japanese government and the findings of fact-based researchers. The question is, how do we effectively deal with the Japanese government’s cash-rich scheme to disrupt efforts to bring the truth of the comfort women issue to the attention of the American public,” Lowe said.
“There are very old and stubborn anti-Asian feelings in the American political world,” said Honda, whose family was among the victims of the US government’s forced internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. “As I was growing up, I found myself thinking that the prejudice and the discriminatory behavior of mainstream whites against Asians was ultimately a way for the majority to isolate and control a minority. Minorities like us are faithful not to the regime but to the constitution. The freedom of political activity that is enshrined in the constitution is very important. The US is a fine country, but it’s not a perfect one. That’s why I’ve diligently participated in political activity to realize and protect our constitutional rights.” Honda’s activism for the comfort women is an extension of that. Lowe also criticized US policies that apply different standards to Japan and to South Korea. “The fact is that South Korea is being treated unfairly because the US has double standards. Americans don’t understand why Koreans are angry and what Japanese are secretly aiming for. In that sense, perhaps we should regard the US as angling for its own political and economic interests while manipulating South Korea and Japan as puppets,” he said.
- So Ahn
- Bernadette Arellano
- Anil Babbar
- Meina Banh
- Pamela Ann Barry
- Ernest Baynard IV
- Albert Beltran, Jr.
- Mark R. Beyersdorf
- Ahmed Bhadelia
- Nabila Bianca Bolisay
- Matthew Bostick
- Mariel-Teresa Caballero
- Hannah Carney
- Yadira Castellanos
- Fernando Cazares
- Gloria Chan
- Larry Chilton
- Leigh Ann Chronister
- Lisa Henry Clark
- Alison Wendy Craig
- Patrice Croci
- Geoffrey Glyn Crockwell
- Kris Cuaresma-Primm
- Katherine Dey
- Danielle Duong
- Christine Epres
- Tommy Fulcher
- David Glasgow
- J. William Goold
- Robin Ann Goracke
- Fayzan Amina Gowani
- Barbara Jenell Hamlett
- Lisa Hargrove
- Wendy Ho
- Matthew Horowitz
- Cara Huang
- Cathryn Ming Hyde
- Emily Ihara
- Sheikisha Jenkins
- Tomas Jimenez
- Veronica Juarez
- Clea Kaske
- Muhammad Khan
- Lori Kinder
- Peter Knudsen
- Daniel Kohns
- Vivek Kothari
- Martha Chavez Lansdowne
- Alice Penny Larussa
- Luke Laurie
- Khanh Le
- Ricky Xuan Le
- Stacey Leavandosky
- David Lebow
- Elizabeth Lee
- Charlene Loomis
- Mario Lopez
- Meri Maben
- Alexis Summer Marks
- Andrea Martin
- Victor Martinez
- Elizabeth Matory
- Xavier McCombs
- Christopher Mitchell
- Michael Mongan
- Joseph Moreno
- Selamawit Mulugeta
- Mack Murphy
- Ayame Nagatani
- Marcus Nakamoto
- Dana Nakano
- Hoa Thai Nguyen
- Daniel Oliver
- Jennifer Palembas
- Vandolf Parish
- Jose Dante Parra
- Joshua Peck
- Christopher Perkins
- Mark Perkins
- Christine Pham
- Robert Pierson
- Denise Pool
- Edward Potosnak III
- Lori Prater
- Ruben Pulido
- Rohit Reddy
- Jason Richardson
- Samuel Ricketts
- Ashley Roybal
- H. Robert Sakaniwa
- Christopher Schwarz
- Paul Scoggins
- Linda Serrato
- Michael Shank
- Daniel Shin
- John Staunton
- Sary Stefanki
- Ken Takeda
- Jenny Torres
- Victoria Tung
- Jennifer Van Der Heide
- Michael Wang
- Nikhil Warrior
- Erin Watari
- Eric Werwa
- Jenny Yang
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