Legacy.com: Lillian Kimura (1929-2020), first female president of the Japanese American Citizens League
Legacy.com - Lillian Kimura was a civil rights leader who became the first woman to serve as national president of the Japanese American Citizens League, leading the organization from 1992 to 1994. A native of California, Kimura was among the Japanese Americans who were incarcerated in U.S. internment camps during World War II. The experience informed her later life, as her career in leadership began with the YWCA, which had helped the women and girls in the camps. Kimura became the associated executive director of the YWCA of the USA. Later, she was elected the first female president of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), a civil rights organization that, under Kimura’s leadership in 1994, became the first non-LGBTQ organization after the ACLU to advocate for marriage equality. Kimura was also a key player in the JACL’s work toward obtaining reparations for the Japanese Americans interned during World War II, a movement that led to the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.
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