Manzanar, National Redress Director, National Executive Director, JACL

John Tateishi, who has been involved with Asian American communities for over twenty-five years, gained national prominence in 1978 when he launched a national campaign to seek redress for Japanese Americans interned in U.S. detention camps during WWII. As the National Redress Director of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), Mr. Tateishi crafted the legislative and public affairs strategies of a grassroots campaign which lasted ten years and successfully culminated with an apology from the President and Congress and monetary redress for the victims of the internment. After leaving the JACL, he founded Tateishi/Shinoda and Associates, a management and public affairs consulting firm in San Francisco with a subsidiary in Dallas, Texas. He continued as an advocate of Asian American and civil rights causes and often called upon for his experience and expertise on American diversity and multicultural matters. In 1999, he accepted the position of National Executive Director of the Japanese American Citizens League, the nation's oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization, to undertake the challenge of shepherding the seventy-five year old organization into the new millennium.

Mr. Tateishi's leadership in the redress campaign led him to be the subject of a television documentary by the BBC in England and a special two-hour documentary by NHK television in Japan. He has also appeared on national network television on numerous occasions, on both national and local television and radio talk shows, and has appeared before public audiences throughout the country. He is the author of And Justice for All (Univ. of Washington Press), an oral history of the World War II internment of Japanese Americans, and a contributor to Last Witnesses (St. Martins Press, 2001) in which his essay “Memories From Behind Barbed Wire” recalls his years growing up in an American concentration camp. He was a Senior Fellow at the UCLA School of Public Policy and Social Research for the 2001-2002 academic year, and is currently a trustee of the newly formed campus of the University of California at Merced.