Day of Remembrance and standing up to federal executive orders
On February 19, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. That order resulted in 120,000 Japanese-Americans and people of Japanese descent being sent to incarceration camps. They received no trials, were convicted of no crimes, and were held for up to four years because of where their ancestors originated from, and the color of their skin.
Despite this injustice, Japanese-American men from the internment camps volunteered to serve in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II. Members of this unit even helped liberate one of Dachau’s slave labor camps, while their families were still in the U.S. being held in internment camps.
As the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors and a member of a religious minority, the need to remember these injustices and to learn from past mistakes strongly resonates.
This year, we have seen similar forms of discrimination from the White House. People have been denied entry to the U.S., detained unnecessarily, and even targeted because of where they come from. People live in fear of persecution over what they look like, how they worship, or their nation of origin.
During World War II, all three branches of the federal government failed to uphold the constitutionally-protected rights of the Japanese community. We cannot allow that to happen again.
House and Senate Democrats in Washington state are considering legislation to:
- Establish referral resources for those needing information or assistance with immigration matters (HB 2029)
- Deny the federal government information about religious affiliation, firewalling Washington state from any form of religious registry (HB 2097)
- Establish a statewide policy supporting Washington state’s economy and immigrants’ role in the workplace (SB 5689). Thank you to our own Senator Lisa Wellman for being a leader on this issue!
Regardless of attempts to sow fear and doubt in our fellow Americans, Washington House Democrats – and I know so many of you – will continue to stand up against actions that are contrary to our values.
Preventing gun violence
Last November’s vote on Initiative 1491 showed that people all across Washington are committed to protecting against gun violence. The vote resulted in 70% in favor of allowing extreme risk protection orders, which removes access to firearms if a person is deemed a danger to himself or others.
This session I am sponsoring a bill, HB 1483, which helps address gun violence by giving the Washington State Patrol the option to destroy guns confiscated as a result of criminal activity, instead of being required to resell them. This bill has passed out of the House Judiciary Committee with an important bi-partisan vote.
Working together to pass common-sense measures will help to make our communities safer.
Children in Action
Legislative Children’s Day welcomes the children and grandchildren of staff and legislators to the House floor. Last week, my daughter and her friend joined me for the day at the capital!
Beyond Children’s Day there are many ways for youth to get involved.
Be a Legislative Page
14-, 15-, and 16-year olds from across the sate can get a hands-on experience in the government by working as a legislative page. If you know a young person who is interested in this opportunity, click here to learn more and to download an application.
If your child is passionate about an issue or if a bill will greatly affect the life of a young person you know, you might encourage them to come down to Olympia to testify. Already we’ve heard from kids testify on curbing gun violence, supporting social emotional learning and requesting support for bilingual education.
Visiting their Legislator
Meeting people from my district is always a highlight of my day, but never more so than when I get to meet passionate kids who care about their future and the future of our state! Please feel free to bring your kids to visit me here in Olympia!
More updates are coming soon, but in the meantime if you have any thoughts, questions, or comments feel free to reach out!
Rep. Tana Senn