The ACLU of Washington honored civil rights leader Diane Narasaki with its top award for civil liberties at the ACLU of Washington Bill of Rights Celebration Dinner on Nov. 10 at the Seattle Marriott Waterfront Hotel.
Diane Narasaki received the 2012 William O. Douglas Award, which is given for outstanding, consistent, and sustained contributions to the cause of civil liberties. Narasaki was honored for her work over the past 30 years. In the 1980s, at the request of Gordon Hirabayashi, she formed and co-chaired a committee composed of civil liberties and civil rights groups, as well as community and religious organizations to gather national and local support for his legal team’s efforts to overturn his conviction in an historic World War II Japanese American internment case. More recently, she chaired the Minority Executive Directors Coalition Multiracial Task Force on Police Accountability and continues to work with the group as a strong advocate for fair treatment of racial minorities.
Narasaki has been a notable leader in bringing about political empowerment for the Asian Pacific Islander community in Washington state. In 1996 she co-founded the Asian Pacific Islander Coalition (APIC) in Seattle, which now includes more than 100 groups. She helped launch Asian Pacific American Legislative Day in Olympia. Since 1995, Diane has been the executive director of Asian Counseling & Referral Service.
“A passion for social justice has run through all her work,” said ACLU-WA Board President Jesse Wing. “She consistently has brought people together to work for change.” (end)