This article was originally posted on Blogging.la and has been republished here with permission.
Sure, Angelenos are no strangers to the concept of a makeover. But when it comes to an egregious error on the part of elected officials—decades in the past—is it possible to get a do-over? County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas thinks that it might be possible, at least, for the LA County Board of Supervisors to try to facilitate some healing regarding one serious misstep taken by the board in 1942.
Specifically, when our country decided that certain broad swipes of our populace could not be trusted based solely on their ancestry, the LA County Board of Supervisors voted 70 years ago to pass a resolution urging the President of the US and Congress to proceed with internment of Japanese Americans as soon as possible. According to one of his aides, current LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas will introduce a motion to repeal that resolution at the June
5 6, 2012 meeting of the board. [Editors Note 5/22/2012: Due to the June 5 election, the Board of Supervisors meeting has changed to June 6.]
Steps such as this move by Ridley-Thomas—which on its face may appear not to change much of anything—can help to push the dialogue of greater racial tolerance and perhaps prevent further injustice as we progress as Angelenos, as Americans, as humans. In fact, this move will help to highlight the progress Los Angeles has made in overcoming institutional racism, as current Chief Executive Officer of LA County, William Fujioka, and the LA County Board’s Executive Officer, Sachi Hamai, are both Japanese Americans.
That, and everyone’s favorite Japanese-American actor and celebrity, George Takei, will also attend the board meeting and offer testimony in support of Ridley-Thomas’ motion. Goodness knows he’s familiar with the challenges of being a second-class citizen.
What are your thoughts? Is this type of move simply a symbolic gesture that cannot undo the harm already caused? Or does the LA County Board of Supervisors have a chance to right a wrong by taking a stand against the resolution passed in 1942?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Chris Corning is a writer living in Los Angeles. He earned his MA at California State University, Northridge, and he works for a nonprofit agency that publishes literature for recovering drug addicts. He also blogs for blogging.la.