April 13, 2018
Vice President and Associate General Counsel of Amazon.com
Dear Mark Hoff,
On behalf of the undersigned 3,522 members of 18MillionRising.org (18MR.org) and the Japanese American Citizens League, we are writing to ask that you remove listings of photographs and memorabilia of Japanese American incarceration marketed as “timeless images” that would make great gifts for decoration for home and office.
As you may know, nearly 120,000 people of Japanese descent were incarcerated by the US Government because of their ethnic background in ten concentration camps and other Federal facilities and prisons. There was no due process and the government purposefully suppressed evidence that they were no threat. As the world’s largest online platform for merchants, we ask that you send a clear message: remove listings that sell images and items from prison camps.
Walmart, another retailer featuring these products, has already removed the items after engaging in conversations with us and other members of our community. Simply because many of these pictures are available in the public domain does not mean that they should be used for personal profit. While we value these pictures as historical evidence of the injustice of World War II mass incarceration, they should be used in the classroom and other educational settings, not as a profit center for ecommerce businesses who have no relationship connection to this history. Marketing prints of civil rights atrocities as home decor is desecration. These third party sellers are capitalizing on our painful history and exploiting our anguish for profit.
We urge Amazon to take these down these listings immediately. You have a golden opportunity to lead and express to your customers your values as a company.
Cayden Mak – Executive Director of 18MillionRising.org
David Inoue – Executive Director of the Japanese American Citizens League
About 18MillionRising.org (18MR.org): 18MR.org is an unprecedented Asian American Pacific Islander online organizing and civic engagement organization that leverages the power of technology and social media to advocate for justice for our communities and allies. 18MR is comprised of a network of a AAPI activists, artists, organizations, and digital media influencers, ranging from community based organizations and print magazines to Asian American blogs and YouTube channels. By harnessing cutting edge online tools and tried-and-true organizing methods, 18MR.org creates opportunities for popular education and wins campaigns to shift policy, culture, and corporate behavior to help build a more just, equitable society for and with the diverse communities comprising over 18 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders nationwide.