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Karen Narasaki Tapped to Join U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

The Seattle native, former attorney, and long-time civil rights advocate was tapped by President Obama to join the historic commission.
Karen Narasaki
Seattle native, former attorney, and long-time civil rights advocate Karen Narasaki was sworn in as commissioner to the United States Commission on Civil Rights.Courtesy Karen Narasaki

Karen Narasaki was sworn in late last week to the post of commissioner for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, following her nomination by President Obama earlier in the week. The Commission is a bipartisan, independent group created in 1957, responsible for investigating and making recommendations on national civil rights issues.

Narasaki says her commitment to the cause stems from her own family's experience. Her parents, both born in America, were interned during WWII because of their Japanese ancestry. Her father went on to volunteer for the U.S. Army infantry, even as his mother lived behind barbed wire.

"The beauty of America is that only one generation later," said Narasaki, "someone whose parents had been denied due process and treated like an enemy would be given the responsibility of serving on a Commission that works to ensure that everyone in America has real opportunity and is treated with the dignity and fairness that every human being deserves."

Narasaki previously served as President and Executive Director of the Asian American Justice Center, and as the Washington Representative for the Japanese American Citizens League. She is currently Chair of the Asian American Diversity Advisory Council for Comcast/NBCU and Co-Chair of the Asian American Advisory Council for Nielsen.

Karen Narasaki
Newly-appointed commissioner to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Karen Narasaki (right), stands with Commission Chair Marty Castro and fellow new commissioner, Judge Patricia Timmons-Goodson.Courtesy Karen Narasaki