Frank Ogawa (19__-94).
The following is an excerpt from an address before the U.S.
House of Representatives that the Hon. Anna G. Eshoo delivered
on July 21, 1994:
"Frank Ogawa was a remarkable person because he could
take personal misfortune and turn it into a positive learning
experience for himself and others. When Frank and Grace Ogawa
were forced to sell their belongings and live in interment
camps during World War II, they had to sleep on straw mattresses
in horse stalls for six months before being shipped to a camp
in Utah to spend another 3 1/2 years in confinement. Despite
this mistreatment and injustice, he never lost faith in the
United States. Just the opposite -- he strived to prove his
loyalty to his country and became an internationally recognized
champion of Asian-Americans in the process.
After World War II, Frank Ogawa returned to Oakland and succeeded
in breaking a series of social and racial barriers. When local
residents objected to him moving into an exclusive neighborhood,
he responded by becoming an integral part of their community
and joining a host of previously all-white organizations like
the Rotary Club.
Having served 5 years on the Oakland Parks Commission, Frank
Ogawa was elected to the City Council in 1966, making him
the first Japanese-American to hold a council seat in a major
city in the continental United States. He held that position
for 28 years until his passing -- the longest tenure in Oakland's
From his council seat, he earned a reputation as an even-handed
leader who worked diligently to improve cultural awareness,
enhance Oakland's economy, expand its port facilities, and
establish relations between Oakland and other countries, especially
Japan. In fact, Frank Ogawa was largely responsible for establishing
a sister city relationship between Oakland and Fukuoka, Japan."
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