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Recognize Mitsuye Endo Tsutsumi's Bravery with the Presidential Medal of Freedom


As you know in 2014 and 2015, I and others, spearheaded an effort for my former client, Minoru Yasui, to receive a Presidential Medal of Freedom from then President Barack Obama. An award Yasui richly deserved for his courageous and principled stand during World War II as he had intentionally violated the military curfew imposed upon all persons of Japanese Ancestry to test its constitutionality. 


I am now working with a group to secure the PMF for Mitsuye Endo Tsutsumi . . . the fourth Japanese American whose case was decided by the Supreme Court, the only woman and the only petitioner who won! After leaving the Topaz Concentration Camp she moved to Chicago where she lived the rest of her life, passing in 2006. 

 

We have sent nomination materials to the White House, and we are getting sign-on letters from organizations in Portland, Oregon, and elsewhere. As well, we are asking individuals to sign a nomination petition. The petition is laid out below with the link for you to sign, should you choose to do so. We have a short amount of time… maybe 10 days before we need to submit this additional support. Please sign and please send out to your considerable network. The deadline for signatures is April 22nd.


Thank you for your support,

Peggy Nagae for the Endo Presidential Medal of Freedom Committee and the Local Portland Working Group (Chisao Hata, Rich Iwasaki, and Hanako Wakatsuki-Chong)





Mitsuye Endo Tsutsumi PETITION 


Mitsuye Endo Tsutsumi, just 22 years old at the time, courageously challenged the incarceration of her fellow Japanese Americans in concentration camps during World War II. She refused an offer of early release and remained in a concentration camp so that her petition for habeas corpus could be heard by the federal courts. Her sacrifice was not in vain: On December 18, 1944, the Supreme Court decided Ex parte Endo, holding unanimously that loyal Japanese Americans could not be imprisoned without cause. Endo’s case played a significant role in the closing of the concentration camps and the return of Japanese Americans to the West Coast in 1945 and 1946.


As we approach the 80th anniversary of the Endo decision, it is long past time to appreciate, recognize, and honor Mitsuye Endo Tsutsumi. Not only was her case one of just four challenges to the Japanese American incarceration to reach the Supreme Court, but Endo was also the lone woman litigant and the only one to achieve a successful outcome. The three men who challenged the incarceration in the Supreme Court, Fred Korematsu, Gordon Hirabayashi, and Minoru Yasui, have all received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Endo was as courageous, determined, and willing to fight injustice as those principled men. Yet her case is seldom cited and she has been recognized rarely, perhaps because she was a woman.


Endo's courage and conviction are an embodiment of what it means to be a responsible American citizen. She fought not just for herself but also for the rights of all citizens, proving that one person can indeed make a difference. In recognition of her significant contribution to civil liberties during one of America's darkest hours, we request that President Biden posthumously award Mitsuye Endo Tsutsumi with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.


Her story is not just part of our history; it is also part of our present struggle against injustice and discrimination. By honoring Endo, we honor all those who have bravely stood up against injustice at great personal cost and, as she put it, for “the good of everybody.”


Join us in this call to recognize Mitsuye Endo Tsutsumi's bravery and dedication to justice by signing this petition today! 


 



Much Appreciation!

Peggy

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