While the JACL’s founding mission was focused on protecting the civil rights of Americans of Japanese ancestry, today we are committed to protecting the rights of all segments of the Asian Pacific American community.
This change was first prompted in the early 1980’s when a young Chinese American man was murdered in Detroit when he was mistakenly identified as Japanese. The murder of Vincent Chin brought about the recognition by the JACL of the need for vigilance to maintain the rights of all Asian Americans. It became apparent that those who would do harm to Japanese Americans did not discriminate in their hatred and bigotry against Asians or other people of color.
During the past three decades, as the Asian American population has continued to grow, and as other Asian ethnic groups emerged in the broader Asian American community, the JACL recognized the need and responded to the challenge of ensuring the rights and well being of all Asian Americans. Today, with inter-racial and multi-ethnic marriages changing the face of the Japanese American community, the JACL faces additional challenges in looking to its future and to the future of the Japanese American community.
Whatever the future may hold, as the nation’s oldest Asian American civil and human rights organization, the JACL will continue to dedicate itself to preserving the rights and well-being of all Asian Americans and other who fall victim to social injustice in the United States.