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PRESS RELEASE

Program to Discuss Survivors of Sexual Exploitation

November 18, 1999
Contact: Eileen Ma

On Friday, December 3, the National Coalition for Redress and Reparations (NCRR), UCLA Labor Center and Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles (CHIRLA) will host an educational program entitled “Women’s Struggle against Exploitation and for Equality.”

The program will be held at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, located at 244 S. San Pedro St. in Los Angeles. The program will open at 6:30 P.M. with light refreshments and informative photo displays about the Rape of Nanking and sexual exploitation of women in Latin America and Asia. At 7 P.M., the program will begin with a performance by a Korean women’s drumming group.

Featured speakers will include Assemblyman Mike Honda, sponsor of California Assembly Joint Resolution 27, Martha Matsuoka from Okinawa Peace Network, and Lisa Maza, Secretary General of GABRIELLA (an international Philippine women’s organization). The program will also include the reading of testimonies from a Korean comfort woman and a survivor of the Rape of Nanking.

“The recent passage of AJR 27 shows a determination not to forget history,” said Eileen Ma of the UCLA Labor Center. “We want to take this opportunity to get more of the truth out in a constructive and unifying manner.”

Last June, Honda introduced AJR 27, which asks the Japanese government to apologize and pay reparations to survivors of its many World War II-era atrocities, including an estimated 200,000 Korean comfort women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military. Although the resolution passed, it unveiled a divide in the Japanese American community between those who seek justice for survivors of Japan’s war crimes and those who do not want California to interfere in Japan’s affairs.

Kathy Masaoka of NCRR explained the need for Japanese American organizations to educate the public on this matter. “As an organization that campaigned to redress the injustice of the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, NCRR believes that a government must acknowledge its wrongs and pay reparations no matter how small the group or how long ago the injustice,” said Masaoka.

Angelica Salas, Acting Director of CHIRLA, told why immigrant communities should be concerned about the issue. “This forum is dealing with violence against women, particularly immigrant women. [CHIRLA] supports ongoing dialogue and reparations for the women affected,” said Salas.

The event is free to the public, and Spanish, Thai and Korean language translation will be provided.

Endorsers of the program include: Asian Left Forum, Asian Pacific American Democratic Club, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking, Coalition of Labor Union Women, Filipino American Service Group, Inc., GABRIELLA, Gardena Valley Democratic Club, JACL Civil Rights Caucus Pacific Southwest, Korean Resource Center, Korean Immigrant Workers Advocates, NAKASEC, Okinawa Peace Network, Pilipino Workers Center, Thai Community Development Center.

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