Heart Mountain Interpretive Center Defends Congresswoman

Heart Mountain Interpretive Center Condemns Attacks on Chinese-American Congresswoman

Written by on March 9, 2023

For the H.M.I.C., the “baseless, dangerous and defamatory attacks” against Representative Chu are in the same vein as those that lead to the internment camps that detained “disloyal” Japenese Americans during World War II.

Judy Chu has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2009. She currently serves as the representative for California’s 28th congressional district in Los Angeles, California.  She is currently under attack for her heritage as a Chinese American – and a monument to the shameful treatment of Asian Americans has something to say about it.

Recently, Texas Representative Lance Gooden said he was “disappointed and shocked that someone like Judy Chu would have a security clearance and be entitled to confidential intelligence briefings.” The statements stem from Chu’s support of Dominic Ng, President Biden’s nominee for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation organization. Gooden accuses Ng of having ties to China.

Chu herself, many House Democrats, and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus have condemned Gooden’s comments, calling it xenophobic and exacerbating an unfortunate trend of anti-Asian discrimination and violence in the United States. Gooden has defended and doubled down on his comments, saying he is “standing up to China” and that Chu is harboring “disloyalty to our nation.”

Courtesy Heart Mountain Interpretive Center


On Thursday, March 9, the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center released a statement in defense of Chu. The statement in its entirety is published below:

Eighty-one years ago, 120,000 people of Japanese descent were incarcerated without evidence, because opportunistic politicians used their ethnicity to question their loyalty after the Imperial Japanese government’s attack on Pearl Harbor.

As much as we want to believe that the arc of the moral universe, while long, eventually bends toward justice, the recent attacks on Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., by a handful of her House colleagues have shown us that not enough has changed over the last 81 years.

A U.S. House member since 2009, Chu has served her country honorably, but her status as a Chinese American is enough for some to call her disloyal and demand she be investigated for defending a Chinese American nominee to a government board.

To promote suspicion or cast doubt about a fellow American’s loyalty and patriotism because of their ancestry is beyond the pale. It is un-American and it reminds us of the same baseless allegations of disloyalty that led to the tragic and unjust uprooting and incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans whose only crime was looking like the enemy.

Our interpretive center exists to remind our nation of the awful hardship and egregious injustice that grew out of the deliberate fanning of fears and suspicion toward Americans of Japanese ancestry during World War II. Our mission today is to do all we can to prevent that same malicious exploitation of fear and racial prejudice from ever again being used to violate the civil rights and human dignity of any group in this country. That’s why we call on fair-minded Americans to join us in condemning the baseless, dangerous and defamatory attacks on Congresswoman Chu.

The Heart Mountain Interpretive Center’s existence ensures Americans never forget how paranoia can lead to xenophobic actions that marginalize and demean American citizens.

The Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation preserves the site where some 14,000 Japanese Americans were unjustly incarcerated in Wyoming from 1942 through 1945. Their stories are told within the foundation’s museum, Heart Mountain Interpretive Center, located between Cody and Powell. For more information, call the center at (307) 754-8000 or email info@heartmountain.org.


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