The U.S.-Japan Council stands with Black Nikkei families and the broader Black communities in the United States and abroad. We stand with them in declaring that Black Lives Matter and in denouncing the deep-seated systemic racism that led to the death of George Floyd and those of countless other Black men, women and children, including transgender individuals.
In 1968, following protests and violence in response to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye addressed the Democratic National Convention with a call to action. Senator Inouye recognized that the country was undergoing a revolution “born of Democratic processes that not only accommodate economic progress and social mobility but actively encourage them.” He urged Americans to resist “the temptation of apathy because we can never cure the causes of violence with indifference.” Today we remain inspired by his words: “We can, and we must do much, much more.”
Senator Inouye and Irene Hirano Inouye founded USJC as an organization built on the values of inclusion, justice and our common humanity. USJC endeavors to foster people-to-people relationships that reflect those values to strengthen the U.S.-Japan relationship and our communities.
Following their example, USJC commits to confronting the systemic racism standing in the way of a just and equitable global community. Our communities are increasingly diverse in race and ethnicity, and systemic racism against marginalized individuals ultimately works against everyone. We recognize that USJC members are uniquely positioned to be important allies in this work. The effects of such racism resulted in the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. This experience and the subsequent fight for redress informs our actions now.
USJC will seek concrete ways in which we can work toward change within our organization and programming, as well as in organizations in which we have influence and the broader global community. Also, our USJC U40 (Under 40) Associates, in partnership with other members, will launch a new Outreach and Allyship Committee to recommend measurable and meaningful actions that support the importance of Black lives and related causes. It is our sekinin, our responsibility, to do all that we can — to do much more — and together build a better world.