In the wake of a divisive election season, many members of the community are filled with fear and apprehension of the uncertain times ahead. The rhetoric of this past election has empowered certain individuals to act in accordance with their racist, homophobic, and Islamophobic beliefs. Since the November election, police and advocacy groups reported an increase in violent attacks based on race, religion, gender and sexual orientation. The Berkeley JACL will not stand idly by or remain silent while members of our community are targeted as victims of violence based on the color of their skin, their religious beliefs, their gender identity, or who they love. We will not allow these types of racist, anti-immigrant, misogynistic, sentiments to be normalized and refuse to accept policies or political rhetoric promoting an agenda of hate and exclusion.
The mission of the Berkeley JACL includes upholding the human and civil rights of all people by strengthening community ties, fostering coalitions, and promoting understanding, respect and appreciation of the rich diversity and contributions of all cultures. As a chapter of the nation’s oldest and largest Asian-American civil rights organization, the Berkeley JACL stands in a unique position to speak out for the rights of others. The Japanese American experience is one stained by bigotry and fear when over 120,000 Japanese Americans were forcibly imprisoned in government-operated concentration camps during World War II solely because of their Japanese ancestry. In present times, this same bigotry and fear has found a new target in the Muslim American community. While the target has shifted, we recognize the same sentiments calling for the derogation and segregation of those seen by a wider American audience as the other—groups such as Muslim Americans, immigrants, and the LGBTQ communities.
The Berkeley JACL stands in solidarity with all groups seeking to build a stronger, more inclusive America built on the belief that diversity of experience is what makes America truly great.