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Nihonmachi Outreach Committee (NOC)
                           Equality, Justice and Peace



In this Issue


No on Proposition 8


JACL Community Recognition Dinner


No on Proposition 8

Image: Vote No on Marriage Ban  
"I went to school in a black tar-paper barrack [as a child in internment camps] and began the day seeing the barbed-wire fence, and thank god those barbed-wire fences are now long gone for Japanese Americans. But I still see an invisible, legalistic barbed-wire that keeps me, my partner of 19 years, Brad Altman, and another group of Americans separated from a normal life."
  -- Star Trek's George Takei, during a 2006 interview on National Public Radio

Separate Is Not Equal

In the case Perez v. Sharp (1948), the Supreme Court of California became the first state in the country since Reconstruction to strike down bans against interracial marriage. The repeal of anti-miscegenation laws by so-called "activist judges" was not aligned with the opinions held by the public at that time. The rejection of interracial marriage was overwhelming and dwarfs the percentage of people who are opposed to same-sex marriage today. A 1958 Gallup Poll revealed that 94% of whites were opposed to interracial marriage.  It wasn't until 1967 when the U.S. Supreme Court followed California's lead and brought down all state anti-miscegenation laws (Loving v. Virginia).

The definition of marriage has changed over time. So, when Proposition 8 supporters talk about "reaffirming traditional marriage" and not letting anyone else "redefine marriage," are we talking about the pre-1967 definition of marriage or the post-1967 definition of marriage?

Many of you may be in an interracial marriage or you may be close to someone who is. How would you feel if your government had the power to invalidate that marriage? How would you feel if your rights to take care of your ill spouse or children were suddenly under question or removed?

In this year's landmark In re Marriage Cases (2008), the conservative-leaning Supreme Court of California based much of its decision to strike down the same-sex marriage ban on the Perez v. Sharp decision. The 2008 decision stated that "an individual's sexual orientation -- like a person's race or gender -- does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights."

Proposition 8, also known as Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry Act, would write inequality into our state Constitution.  Proposition 8 is silent on the retroactivity of a ban, but its passage could possibly invalidate the estimated 11,000 same-sex marriages that became a reality after the court decision.

Supporters of Proposition 8 are currently in the midst of a media blitz based on misleading charges  (San Diego Union Tribune 10/16/08) that

Photo: In God's House
NOC co-presented Lina Hoshino's film, "In God's House: Asian American Lesbian and Gay Families in the Church" in 2007
have been challenged by legal experts (San Jose Mercury News  9/30/08, 10/18/08). Their argument that domestic partners already have the same rights as married, heterosexual spouses should make all Americans recall the devastating logic of "separate but equal" laws (Plessy v. Ferguson) which had severe consequences in promoting and legitimizing second-class citizenship, racial segregation, and intolerance.

Hate in our backyard. Los Altos, CA in 2006. Photo by Will Kaku



As a result of the television and radio advertisements, support for Proposition 8 has surged ahead in recent polls. As defenders of civil liberties and human rights, NOC believes it is critical to defeat Proposition 8 which seeks to exclude a single group of people from a fundamental right.  Join us in voting NO on Proposition 8.
A partial list of organizations in our community that support voting No on Proposition 8:

Asian Law Alliance
Japanese American Citizen League-San Jose Chapter (San Jose JACL)
Japanese American Citizen League-Sequoia Chapter
Council of Churches of Santa Clara County
ACLU-Santa Clara Valley
DeFrank Center
Levi Strauss
Click here to see a list of other groups opposed to Proposition 8.

Other Links:

Download the Supreme Court of California In re MARRIAGE CASES decision
from the NOC site by clicking here.

Human Rights Campaign
Equality California

JACL Community Recognition Dinner

San Jose JACL's 7th Annual Community Recognition Dinner
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Holiday Inn, 1740 North First Street, San Jose, CA 95112

Photo: Japantown Logo

  The Nihonmachi Outreach Committee (NOC) will be honored at San Jose JACL's Community Recognition Dinner on November 1st.  NOC was founded in 1979 by a group of grassroots community activists who were concerned about preserving the unique character of Japantown (Nihonmachi) during redevelopment.

During the 1980’s, NOC was an active participant in the redress and reparations struggle which eventually led to the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.

The symbol of Japantown was designed as part of a NOC-sponsored contest
NOC gathered testimony from San Jose residents for the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians hearings and organized the San Jose component of the 1987 National Coalition for Redress/Reparations lobbying delegation to Washington, D.C.
Since 1981, NOC has been hosting the “Day of Remembrance” event in San Jose. The Day of Remembrance commemorates Executive Order 9066, which President Franklin Roosevelt signed on February 19, 1942, that led to the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. At this annual event, we renew our commitment to justice, equality and peace for all people.

Recently, NOC has been involved in organizing educational forums and discussions on current issues that pertain to civil liberties and justice in our community (e.g. LGBT civil rights, WW II draft resistors, Lt. Ehren Watada, redress for Japanese Latin Americans).

  Photo: Day of Remembrance
Traditional Day of Remembrance candlelight procession through historic Japantown. Photo by Andy Frazer.

Other honorees at the JACL Community Recognition Dinner include Mr. Warren Hayashi, Mr. Ray Matsumoto and Mrs. Lucy Matsumoto, Mr. James Benjamin Peckham Sr. and Mr. James Benjamin Peckham Jr., Mr. Jimi Yamaichi and Mrs. Eiko Yamaichi.

For more information:

San Jose JACL website:  www.sanjosejacl.org
Reservations and inquiries can be directed to JACL's Jeff Yoshioka at jyoshioka@msn.com (408) 363-8191.

San Jose Nihonmachi Outreach Committee (NOC)
P.O. Box 2293, San Jose, CA  95109

E-Mail: info@sjnoc.org

"In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
                                                                           - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.