People

Some Build Walls while Others Welcome You

My dad who was born in Stockton, CA was placed in a internment camp. On the other hand, my mom’s side of the family who had owned and operated a farm in Brighton, CO were not.

This was in due part to 2nd term conservative Republican, Governor of Colorado from 1939-1943, Ralph L. Carr. He welcomed and protected the rights of Japanese Americans in CO which included the ones who were displaced from CA and were placed in an internment camp in Amache, CO. In a speech he said “They are not going to take over the vegetable business of this state, and they are not going to take over the Arkansas Valley. But the Japanese are protected by the same Constitution that protects us. An American citizen of Japanese descent has the same rights as any other citizen… If you harm them, you must first harm me. I was brought up in small towns where I knew the shame and dishonor of race hatred. I grew to despise it because it threatened [pointing to various audience members] the happiness of you and you and you”. Unfortunately not everybody agreed with that sentiment which was very anti-Japanese at the time. Carr’s urgings for racial tolerance and for protection of the constitutional rights of the Japanese Americans are generally thought to have cost him his political career. That’s unfortunate because he’s a true American.

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