"Why We Can't Wait" Event Summary

Education and Action Resources 

“Why We Can’t Wait”: Democrats Abroad in Conversation with Human Rights Watch, Nikkei Progressives, and Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress

January 16, 2022

Summary Notes

  1. HR 40 would establish a commission to study the case for reparative justice for African Americans.  It would give 18 months for this commission to produce a report.
  2. The euphemistically-titled “Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians” took approximately 2 years to produce its report from its 1980 establishment. (A summary can be read here.)  It then took until 1988 to pass legislation to implement the recommendations of that Commission.  
  3. Implementing the proposals of both did/would take as much or as little time as the congressional will to write and pass a law that would establish reparative justice solutions


  1. NCRR: The Grassroots Struggle for Japanese American Redress and Reparations by Nikkei for Civil Right and Redress
  2. Join the organizers of the Pilgrimage to Manzanar (Virtual) to learnApril 24, 2022, 12pm PST
  3. One of the most profoundly impactful moments of progress and regress in the history of reparative justice for African Americans is that of the Civil War and Reconstruction in the 1800s.  Eric Foner, Columbia University Historian, has long-been a leading voice in understanding this time and its impacts on today.  His semester-long course is available here.
  4. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s works on US history can be very valuable in understanding the larger structures of white supremacy in the establishment and growth of the United States.  Here are several.
  5. Some colleges have been taking leadership roles establishing reparative justice.  Some have yet to do so.  
  6. Lessons from the Canadian Reparative Justice movement.
  7. Nikkei Progressive Organizations
    1. Nikkei Progressives on Facebook and Instagram
    2. San Jose Nikkei Resisters
  8. Dreisen Heath’s, of Human Rights Watch, testimony to congress on the importance of passing HR 40.
  9. Statement of the “Why We Can’t Wait” Coalition on the importance of passing HR 40.
  10. Join Democrats Abroad’s Women’s Caucus to learn how to best frame discourse to communicate the political messages you want to.  Saturday, January 22.


  1. During Japanese Removal and Concentration, LA Mayor Fletcher Bowron said: "We put forth considerable effort to get the Japs out and they should stay out."  Sign the petition to rename LA’s “Fletcher Bowron Square”
  2. Join/Organize a “write-in” where you gather with others who want to talk to those close to them about these issues, but struggle to find the way to broach difficult conversations.
    1. Join a write-in
    2. Organize a write-in: Sample Agenda
  3. Join the Reparations Task Force of Democrats Abroad to stay up on events and actions for the passage of HR 40 and beyond.
  4. Join the Progressive Caucus of Democrats Abroad and keep up with monthly Biden-Harris Progress Reports and other events.
  5. Human Rights Watch “Reparations Now” Statement and social media shareable with excellent video on Tulsa, OK and the history of terrorism against the former “Black Wall St.” community of Greenwood.
  6. DID YOU KNOW?  During WWII, the U.S. government went outside its borders and violated the rights of over 2,200 men, women and children of Japanese ancestry in 13 Latin American countries in the name of “national security.”  These “potentially dangerous enemy aliens” were imprisoned in concentration camps in the U.S. for use as hostages in exchange for U.S. citizens held in Far East war zones. Over 70 years later, the U.S. government has yet to acknowledge and properly redress these crimes against humanity.  Learn more about what you can do here

Other Actions Items for Justice

  1. Help get universal healthcare in California.  It’s closer than ever to becoming reality!
  2. Push for New Jersey Out-of-State Voting Rights!
  3. Use that push to advocate for a NJ State Reparations Task Force.
  4. Utilize letter-writing campaign to push for HR 40, collaborate with Stateside allies for this push in a combined effort!