Press Release  

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 history.

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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