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August 10 1988 was a historic day for it symbolized hope that our country has perhaps learned a lesson about protecting the rights of its citizens and other residents during times of great crisis It should be remembered by Japanese Americans and all Americans as much as February 19 1942 August 10 was the date on which the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 CLA was signed into law which was our governments act to acknowledge that it had committed a tremendous wrong against Japanese Americans and the Constitution during World War II and to seek a way to make amends Yet the question remained how will the lessons from this injustice carry over into insight during any future time of crisis Will the government commit similar injustices and how would the American public respond We need only to look at events of today September 11 2001 is a date that marks a tremendous tragedy for the US and the American public It was also the beginning of a period of turmoil in which we now find ourselves There is great fear about more terrorist attacks and there is concern about what price people are willing to pay to alleviate that fear both in dollars and in loss of civil liberties September 11 reminded many of us of the lessons of February 19 1942 and August 10 1988 Immediately after September 11 Nikkei for Civil Rights Redress NCRR initiated a candlelight vigil in order to allow the Japanese American community a way to express its sympathy and sorrow for those who died and for their loved ones It was also a statement by our community that we of all people knew the deep fears and anxieties held by Arab and Muslim Americans and we urged the public to keep their heads and protect the civil rights and general well-being of those perceived to be like the enemy From that event NCRR
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