Frank Emi

(1916-2010) draft resister, helped form the Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee

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Frank Emi was born on September 23, 1916 in Los Angeles, CA. He ran the family produce business until life was interrupted by war. Emi was sent to Heart Mountain, Wyoming with his young wife and two kids.

Emi, along with many others, openly questioned the constitutionality of the incarceration of Japanese Americans. He helped form the Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee and protested against the government’s actions by organizing a draft resistance. Emi was not even eligible for the draft because he was a father.

The Fair Play Committee argued that they were willing to serve in the military, but not until their rights as U.S. citizens were restored and their families released from the camps. The government convicted Emi and six others leaders of conspiracy to evade the draft. He served 18 months in jail. 86 others from Heart Mountain were put on trial and imprisoned for resisting the draft.

Following the war, Emi and other draft resisters were ostracized by Japanese American leaders and veterans. It was not until the fight for Redress, some forty years later that the Fair Play Committee was vindicated for taking a principled stand against injustice.

He passed away on December 2010 at age 94. (December 2010)

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