Yolo County Board of Supervisors Takes Historic Step to Right Past Wrongs

Special to the Vanguard

Woodland, CA – In a symbolic but heartfelt gesture intended to rectify historical injustices, the Yolo County Board of Supervisors has unanimously adopted a resolution to rescind a regrettable and discriminatory decision made during World War II.

On June 10, 1943, during a turbulent period marked by fear and prejudice, the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution opposing the release of Japanese Americans confined in internment camps across the United States. Today, recognizing the grave errors of the past, the current Board has taken the monumental action of rectifying this injustice.

“Many of us at the county were shocked to read the language of the original 1943 resolution; we know that the internment of Japanese residents during World War II was a dark chapter in our nation’s history, driven by discrimination and baseless fears,” remarked Chair of the Yolo County Board of Supervisors Lucas Frerichs. “With our Board action (however symbolic), the Yolo County Board of Supervisors finds the revocation of the 1943 resolution is a step towards reconciliation and healing of past discrimination that has no place in today’s democratic society.”

The newly adopted resolution not only apologizes for the Board’s past support of unjust internment but also revokes the 1943 resolution, declaring it incompatible with the values of equality and inclusivity that Yolo County now upholds. Additionally, the Board reaffirmed its commitment to rejecting all forms of discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, and other characteristics.

“Rescinding this shameful 1943 resolution is an important step in our county confronting a shameful part of our history. The internment of Japanese Americans was a racist and inexcusable act,” added Supervisor Jim Provenza. “I was proud to work with then-Supervisor Mariko Yamada over 15 years ago to rescind a similar resolution in the City of Davis and I am grateful to Pattie Fong for bringing this issue to the county’s attention.”

“As WWII internment resister Fred T. Korematsu once said, ‘If you have the feeling that something is wrong, don’t be afraid to speak up,'” said former Supervisor and Assemblymember Mariko Yamada. “It’s never too late to correct an injustice, and I thank the current Board for its leadership and recent action.”

The Yolo County Board of Supervisors urges Yolo County residents and other communities to reflect on their own histories and join in the ongoing effort to confront and address past injustices. Together, Yolo County is leading the way towards a future where all individuals are treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their background or heritage.

The Yolo County Board of Supervisors cordially invites the community to honor the resilience of Japanese American communities by attending the Japantown Monument Dedication Ceremony. Hosted by the Historical Society of Winters, the ceremony will take place on May 4, 2024, at 2:00 p.m. at Rotary Park in Winters. This monument serves as a symbol of the challenges endured, including the fire damage sustained just as families were returning to rebuild their lives after the war. The Board of Supervisors extends their heartfelt appreciation to all who choose to participate in commemorating this significant event.

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