Houston, TX, July 20, 2004... The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) welcomes the decision of Jefferson County Commissioners to rename "Jap Road." For more than a decade, the ADL has worked with concerned individuals and other civil rights organizations to effect this change.
We understand that the road was originally named to honor Japanese rice farmers who settled in the county, but during World War II, the term "Jap" acquired an extremely negative meaning, and that negativity has not dissipated in the nearly 60 years that have elapsed.
"We are pleased that Jefferson County Commissioners have decided to rename Jap Road," said ADL Southwest Regional Director Martin B. Cominsky. "Clearly, they recognize how hurtful the use of the term 'Jap' can be, not just to citizens of Japanese descent, but to all citizens of the county. The word carries a historically significant message of disrespect and even hatred, and we know current residents of Jefferson County don't want to convey that message."
"We want to thank the Commissioners for allowing us and other civil rights groups to testify in favor of the name change, and for taking the correct action. This action sends a message to the rest of the world that Jefferson County is a place where people of all backgrounds can feel welcome and part of the community." The ADL worked with the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA), Urban League, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) to convince county commissioners to change the road's name.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.