Washington, DC – Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement following the passing of Senator Daniel Inouye, who consistently supported civil right advancements for all Americans during his distinguished congressional career and was a stalwart champion for the rights of Asian Americans, American Indians, and Native Hawaiians:
“Senator Inouye was a man of conscience who dedicated his life and career to the advancement of all Hawaiians, but also to the narrowing of civil and human rights disparities for all Americans.
Over his 53-year congressional career, he compiled a near-perfect voting record in support of civil and human rights for all Americans. Along the way, he became a champion for justice and equality for the formerly interned Japanese Americans, for the Native Hawaiians who go unrecognized by our federal government, and for the American Indian tribes within his jurisdiction on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.
After Hawaii was attacked in World War II, he enlisted and was sent to battle as part of the legendary 442 Regimental Combat Team. The all-Japanese-American team fought in Europe and became one of the most decorated infantry regiments in U.S. Army history. Daniel Inouye’s heroism earned him the Medal of Honor even as he lost an arm and his hopes of becoming a surgeon. Medicine’s lost turned out to be our nation’s gain.
The Navajo Nation’s name for Senator Inouye was “The Leader Who Has Returned With a Plan” and those words extend to the entire civil and human rights community. He will be dearly missed.”
Wade Henderson is the president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.