Executive Order 9066
On this day, February 19, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt signed this order and by so doing authorized the evacuation of all persons of Japanese descent, alien or non-alien, which were deemed a threat to national security from the West Coast to relocation centers further inland. In the next 6 months, over 100,000 men, women, and children of Japanese ancestry were moved to assembly centers. They were then evacuated to and confined in isolated, fenced, and guarded relocation centers, euphemously known as internment camps but much better described as concentration camps, or prisons. It is a sad mark on our country. I had the honor of visiting Minidoka, one of those prisons, where many from Seattle were sent. Visiting Minidoka is something anyone can do, and I would urge you to consider it, as well as the others scattered around the West and as far East as Arkansas. This is a day that reminds us what fear and racism can cause for us all and what our racism leads us to do and be. On this day I felt it would be a good day to remind you all of the resolution passed two years ago at our diocesan convention commending the Anti-Racism Covenant. You will find that below. I also commend the newsletter from the Friends of Minidoka. You can find that here mailchi.mp/124f3a08aa34/introducing-our-new-executive-director-13725686?e=8bb445ef5a
You can read more about this Covenant, see the list of signers, and sign yourself here
Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.”
1 John 4:20
The sin of racism disrupts the harmony and oneness that God intends for humanity. Racism is dangerous, divisive, and damaging. Racism purports that some are deserving of dignity over others and disregards the image and likeness of God found in every human being. We are created in the image of God; therefore, to engage in racism of any form is to refuse to acknowledge the image of God in the other and the stranger. The fact that we were created in the image of God should remind us that each person is a living expression of God that must be respected, preserved, and never dishonored.
Throughout our history, courageous people of God have taken the risk of standing up and speaking out for the least and the lowest. God now challenges us to become courageous people who seek to create sacred communities of hope by dismantling the sin of racism. This work involves risking ourselves for the sake of God’s love, moving beyond ourselves in order to seek and serve Christ and one another.
We invite you to add your name to this covenant and join us as we work to root out racism. Individuals, parishes, groups, dioceses as well as community leaders and businesses are all welcome to be a part of this project.
We lament…As people of faith, we acknowledge our sins and our failure to respect the dignity of every human being. We have, individually and corporately, fallen short of the glory of God, and now call to mind and name the aspects of our lament.
The Rt. Rev. Gregory H. Rickel is the VIII Bishop of Olympia, the Episcopal Church in Western Washington State. He has been the bishop here since September, 2007.