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Four Asian-American Groups Join Call for the Removal of Kirsanow from USCCR

Four Asian-American Groups Join Call for the Removal of Kirsanow from USCCR
The National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium (NAPLC), Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, National Federation of Filipino American Associations, and the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development have joined ADC, the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), and Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MICH) in urging President George W. Bush to remove Mr. Peter Kirsanow from the United States Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR).
All groups have reiterated praise of President Bush’s own efforts at sending a clear message to the American people that collective blame and stereotyping are unacceptable and un-American, but continued to ask him to remove Kirsanow from the USCCR.
Kirsanow raised the possibility of internment for camps for the mass detention of Arab Americans at a Commission hearing in Detroit on July 19. He did not condemn this idea, but raised it as a serious and reasonable possibility in the event of future terrorist attacks against the United States. He also stated that if the perpetrators of any such attack “come from the same ethnic group that attacked the World Trade Center, you can forget about civil rights,” and that “not too many people will be crying in their beer if there are more detentions, more stops, more profiling, there will be a groundswell of public opinion to banish civil rights.”
Karen Narasaki, President and Executive Director of NAPLC, in a letter to President Bush stated that as an organization dedicated to the advancement and preservation of the Asian Pacific American community we ask that “you repudiate the remarks made by Mr. Peter Kirsanow. Furthermore, we support the recommendations of our colleagues at the LCCR and ADC that you remove Mr. Kirsanow from the very important position.
ADC has also urged all its members and supporters to ask their Senators and member of Congress to joining us in asking President Bush to remove Mr. Kirsanow from the USCCR. We ask you to contact your Senators about this, and since the House is currently in reassess, we urge you also to try to visit your member of Congress personally on this matter. You can send mail directly to Senators and members of Congress through the Legislative Action section of ADC’s website.
ADC Press Releases on this issue:
Sen. Stabenow Urges President Bush to Ask for Resignation of Civil Rights Commission Member Peter Kirsanow
https://www.adc.org/index.php?id=414
JACL Joins ADC and LCCR in Asking Bush to Remove Civil Rights Commissioner
https://www.adc.org/index.php?id=412
USCCR Reaffirms Commitment to Arab-American, Muslim Civil Rights
https://www.adc.org/index.php?id=411
Join ADC’s Campaign to Remove Kirsanow from Civil Rights Commission
https://www.adc.org/index.php?id=410
LCCR Joins ADC in Asking Bush to Remove Civil Rights Commissioner
https://www.adc.org/index.php?id=406
ADC Calls for the Removal of U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner https://www.adc.org/index.php?id=404
TEXT OF LETTER TO PRESIDENT BUSH FROM 4 LEADING ASIAN-AMERICAN GROUPS:
Dear Mr. President:
The National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium (NAPALC) is a non-profit, non-partisan civil rights organization dedicated to the advancement and the preservation of the Asian Pacific American community. NAPALC and the undersigned write to you to first thank you in your efforts in the war against terrorism. While doing all in your power to preserve national security, you have continued to send the American people a clear message that collective blame, hate, and intolerance have no place in American society.
In the wake of the September 11th attacks, the Asian Pacific American
community experienced an unprecedented spate of violence. In just the three months following the attacks, NAPALC reported in its Annual Audit on Hate Crimes 243 incidents of hate crime against the Asian Pacific American and South Asian communities, including two murders and seven attempted murders. As a community we were abhorred, but concomitantly, we believe that your administration has demonstrated government‘s ability to diffuse tensions in times of crisis.
It is in the spirit of these moral principles that we ask that you repudiate the remarks made by Mr. Peter Kirsanow, your recent appointee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. Furthermore, we support the recommendations of our colleagues at the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee that you remove Mr. Kirsanow from this very important position.
Our extreme concern arose when Mr. Kirsanow recently raised the possibility of internment camps for the mass detention of Arab Americans at a Commission hearing in Detroit on July 19th , as reported by the Associated Press on July 23, 2002. Mr. Kirsanow added that if another terrorist attack were perpetrated by persons of the same ethnic descent as those persons who were responsible for the September 11 th attacks then, “you can forget about civil rights,” and that “not too many people will be crying in their beer if there are more detentions, more stops, more profiling.”
We find this language irresponsible and insensitive. One of the most egregious examples of the effects of discrimination against the Asian Pacific American community has been the brutal internment of approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II, 70,000 of whom were American citizens. Since then, in 1983 the Supreme Court held in the case of Korematsu that the Japanese internment was “illegitimate,” and also held that it was Asian Law Caucus motivated largely by racial prejudice, wartime hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.” And, in 1988, the United States and President Reagan clearly condemned our government‘s past actions and apologized for the internment of persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II.
We write to you Mr. President because we believe that Mr. Kirsanow‘s comments are completely at odds with the clear message that you have sent to the American public and with your leadership on these issues. We hold the Commission in our highest esteem, and we feel that Mr. Kirsanow‘s comments besmirch both your administration and your Presidency.
We look forward to hearing from you on this extremely important matter.
Sincerely,
Karen K. Narasaki
President and Executive Director
The National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium
Jin Sook Lee
Executive Director
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
Joe Montano
National Executive Director
National Federation of Filipino American Associations
Lisa Hasegawa
Executive Director
National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development