February 19, 2003
The Honorable Howard Coble
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Congressman Coble:
We, the undersigned community, civil rights and faith organizations, continue to be deeply disturbed by your comments in a radio interview earlier this month when you explicitly supported President Roosevelt‘s decision sixty-one years ago today to unjustly intern 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry and implicitly impugned the Arab American community as a threat to national security. Further, we are frustrated by the lack of responsiveness from your office despite numerous letters and requests — as early as two weeks ago — to discuss this matter.
Your comments and the continued insistence that your statements were “historical fact” have raised alarm among Americans throughout this country, as evidenced by the 5000 signatures on the attached petitions, which call on you to step down from your position as Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security.
On this National Day of Remembrance as the Japanese American community around the country observes the anniversary of Executive Order 9066 and endeavors to educate people about the injustice of internment, we respectfully request the opportunity to meet with you to share our concerns and move towards a resolution on this issue.
Kristine Minami, the Director for Public Affairs of the Japanese American Citizens League, will follow up with your office to schedule a meeting next week. We hope you will be amenable to this request.
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
Arab American Institute
Asian American Coalition of Chicago
Asian American Institute
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)
Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum
Asian Health Coalition of Illinois
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO
Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON)
Chinese Mutual Aid Association
FilCRA (Filipino Civil Rights Advocates), Chicago Chapter
Hmong National Development, Inc. (HND)
Japanese American Citizens League (JACL)
Japanese American Service Committee
Korean American Coalition
National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse (NAPAFASA)
National Coalition For Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD)
National Council of La Raza (NCLR)
National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA)
Organization of Chinese Americans
Sikh American Heritage Organization
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)
cc: Speaker Hastert