Dear Editor,

The Olympia JACL (Japanese American Citizens League) has concerns regarding the position taken by some members of the Asian American community in relation to the Washington State Human Rights Commission Task Force Report on Race and Ethnic Relations at Washington State University, the University and the incident itself.

The approach of some members of the Asian American Community in response to the incident and the HRC Task Force report appear to be more of a reaction to the early account of the incident, rather than a considered response to the Task Force’s report. We in the Olympia Chapter of the JACL urge the members of the API community who are concerned about the way the HRC Task Force handled its review of WSU’s responses to the incident take the time to engage in civil discourse with the college and the task force members in order to have a greater understanding of what transpired. We have serious threats to the well-being of the API and broader community concerned with social justice and need to maintain our solidarity in the face of those common threats.

Although allegations of racism are a hot button issue for our community, it sometimes makes sense to step away from our immediate reactions in order to respond in an informed manner. In this instance, the HRC report reviewed the process the University used in determining their actions, and made many recommendations for improvements in campus climate, suggestions for building trust and addressing partnership with the broader community. The university has responded in positive fashion to those proposals. This would seem to be a time to maximize our potential for positive gain, rather than furthering polarization with our partners in social justice issues.

We recognize that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and that we may not be able to all agree on this issue. However, it is our hope that we can respect difference of opinion and remain united in a greater cause.

Bob Nakamura, President
Olympia Chapter, JACL

If you’d like to respond directly to Bob Nakamura’s letter, please e-mail [email protected] or mail your response to JACL Olympia Chapter P.O. Box 851 Olympia, WA 98507-0851.

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