My husband and I were privileged to be the guests of Fred Okrand at the premiere showing of "Come See the Paradise," a factual story of the evacuation of Japanese-Americans from the West Coast during World War II.
Okrand, who worked with Al Wiren through the American Civil Liberties Union at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, protested unceasingly the evacuation of the Japanese-Americans from U.S. coastal areas. At a time when all ties with Japanese-Americans were considered traitorous and unpopular, Okrand ran counter to public opinion and fought tooth and nail for our civil rights.
Today, he and men like him at the ACLU still fight for the rights of all minorities. We as Japanese-Americans, with an apology from the U.S. government in one hand and $20,000 redress in the other, can thank men like Fred Okrand and the ACLU for all they did for us.
We are what we are today because of men like Okrand and the ACLU.