Friday, November 17, 2006

Saying Goodbye to Rei

Rei, Tony and Maiya at the NCRR Fundraiser Luau - Sept. 2005
We won Rei's painting in the Silent Auction

Our friend Rei Osaki passed away this week. I worked with her on the Manzanar Committee for many years, she was one of my 3 favorite women on the committee, all have now passed away. We had a common bond with her because she was from western Idaho, and knew some of Tony's relatives in Washington. She was one of the first 50 women admitted to the Idaho State Bar in 1943. Pretty amazing. I also just found out that she was on the Board of Mother's Club, an organization that has a great family literacy and leadership program for low-income mothers. She was an artist as well. Below is a water color that Rei gave us at our baby shower.
Here's what Jan Yen wrote about Rei's community activism.

Until just two months ago Rei was an active member of Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress (NCRR). She represented NCRR on many occasions. In 1990 Rei spoke on behalf of NCRR during a Los Angeles ceremony at which representatives of the United States Department of Justice offered formal apologies for the World War II mass incarceration of over 110,000 Japanese Americans in United States concentration camps.

Rei was also a member of a 1998 NCRR-sponsored lobbying delegation to Washington, DC. The delegation and concerted efforts by the Japanese American community culminated in the attainment of reparations for Japanese American miners and railroad workers adversely affected by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1942 signing of Executive Order 9066.

Rei was a champion of civil rights. Besides her activism in NCRR, she was a member of the Manzanar Committee, participated in local Pasadena Democratic Party activities, and supported the American Friends Service Group. All in NCRR will dearly miss Rei and her wry sense of humor, astute observations, and passion for justice.

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