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The Warren Furutani Collection documents the breadth and duration of Warren Furutani’s four year service as a member of the California State Assembly for the 55th District. Furutani was elected to the California State Assembly on a special primary Election in 2007, replacing fellow Democrat Laura Richardson. He served the 55th District from February 7, 2008 until November 30, 2012. He was the last representative of the 55th district to represent the South Bay, Gardena, Carson, Lakewood, and Long Beach before the redistricting in 2011 by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission. During his tenure in the California Assembly, Furutani introduced several legislative bills related to career technical education, community colleges, clean air quality, and support for small businesses such as: AB 2142, AB 1294, AB 1448 and AJR 8. He is renowned for introducing Assembly Bill (AB37) which granted honorary college degrees to Japanese Americans whose education was disrupted due to their wrongful incarceration during World War II. The collection contains primarily legislative bills, constituent correspondence, awards, articles, plaques, videos, and photographs detailing Furutani’s service as a member of the California Assembly for the 55th District.
Warren Furutani is a fourth generation Japanese American born in San Pedro, California on October 16, 1947. He was the grandson of a boat mechanic on Terminal Island in San Pedro, whose family became victims of the Japanese American incarceration during WWII. Warren's grandparents and father were forced to leave their home with only 48-hours’ notice and were sent to an incarceration camp in Rohror, Arkansas. Warren's father was in high school at the time and while at camp he met Warren's mother who was from Elk Grove, California. After the war, his parents returned to San Pedro, where Furutani would be born. His family moved to Gardena where Warren was raised. He graduated from Gardena High School in 1965 and earned a liberal arts degree from Antioch University. During the 60’s Furutani was a civil rights activist who worked tirelessly to establish admissions programs for students of color at colleges and universities throughout the United States. He helped many campuses institute ethnic studies programs and was instrumental in UCLA and Long Beach State University adopting an Asian American Studies program. In 1969, Warren was one of the founders of the Manzanar Pilgrimage, an annual event to honor the 110,000 Japanese American men, women and children who were forced to leave their homes and were incarcerated during World War II. Warren also helped to create the Manzanar Committee that worked to get Manzanar designated as a national historical site. Today, thousands of people participate in the Manzanar Pilgrimage every year on the last Saturday of April. In the mid-1970s, Warren worked as a counselor at the Central Continuation High School in Downtown Los Angeles. He later joined the Asian American Student Services Center at UCLA where he worked as an administrator and developed programs to recruit, mentor and tutor students as well as encourage them to be active in community projects.
9 boxes 8 linear ft.
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.
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