HomeJapanese AmericanWhy a Japanese Am attorney is pushing for reparation for slavery

Why a Japanese Am attorney is pushing for reparation for slavery

In 1983, Don Tamaki was part of the legal team that overturned Korematsu v. United States, a Supreme Court case which upheld the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

That cased paved the way for reparations for the survivors of those camps. In 2023, he is advocating for something similar for Black Americans, especially the descendants of slaves.

Last week, the task force, of which Tamaki is the only non-Black member, released its 2023 report, which includes reforms to health care, housing, education, criminal justice, the child support system, and directly paying reparations.

The task force used a panel of experts including economists and historians to calculate the value of the losses Black Californians have endured, with the maximum estimated amount a given person might be owed reaching $1.2 million.

In a two-part interview with Nichi Bei, he discussed overturning the Korematsu case and his role in advocating for reparations for slavery. While underscoring that it’s impossible to compare the four centuries of African slavery in America to the experience of Japanese Americans, he emphasized that Japanese Americans were victims of the same system of racial oppression that was born from African slavery.

“If it wasn’t for the Black Civil Rights Movement, where would we be?” Tamaki told NBC News in reference to the support the Black-led Civil Rights movement gave to the struggle for reparations for Japanese Internment, and in his interview with Nichi Bei, he called for that support to be reciprocated by Asian Americans.

Many Asian-American groups involved in the fight for reparations for internment camps have supported reparations for slavery at the federal level, advocating for the passage of the H.R. 40 bill, including the Japanese American Citizens League, Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress and Tsuru for Solidarity.

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