Warren Furutani Collection
Scope and Content
The Warren Furutani Collection documents the breadth and duration of Warren Furutani’s four year service as a member of the California State Assembly for the 55th District. The collection is comprised of 8 linear feet containing; legislative bills, awards, photographs, videos, campaign mail, newspaper articles, and constituent correspondence providing an in depth look at Furutani’s legislative activities during his tenure in the California State Senate. The collection contains bill files from 2008- 2012 that document evidence of Furutani’s interest in improving education, transportation, response to substance abuse, health care, support of small businesses, environment, and educational recognition and restitution for Japanese Americans whose education was disrupted through incarceration during WW2. Documented in the collection is Furutani’s legislative legacy displayed in bill AJR8 which details Furutani’s effort and commitment to bringing the WW2 historic battleship USS Iowa to San Pedro.
The collection is also comprised of awards and constituent correspondence that document Furutani’s attention to issues and concerns that affected his constituents, his district, the state, and his political party. The collections PSA videos on topics like “Sober Driving” for High School students and “Earth Day” are examples of Furutani’s social and environmental commitment. The collection includes receipts and planning outlines for the Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month Events that Furutani oversaw which displays Furutani’s ongoing commitment to his Asian Heritage.
The collection can help a researcher understand the dynamics of the California State Assembly from 2008-2012 as well as the role of the 55th District while it still encompassed the South Bay. Furatani was the last representative of the 55th district to represent the South Bay, Gardena, Carson, Lakewood, and Long Beach before the redistricting in 2011 by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission. Finally, it also gives insight on Furutani’s social and civil activism that has characterized him throughout his life.
There are no access restrictions on this collection.
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.
Warren Furutani is a fourth generation Japanese American born in San Pedro, California on October 16, 1947. He was the grandson of a boat mechanic on Terminal Island in San Pedro, whose family became victims of the Japanese American incarceration during WWII. Warren's grandparents and father were forced to leave their home with only 48-hours’ notice and were sent to an incarceration camp in Rohror, Arkansas. Warren's father was in high school at the time and while at camp he met Warren's mother who was from Elk Grove, California. After the war, his parents returned to San Pedro, where Furutani would be born. His family moved to Gardena where Warren was raised. He graduated from Gardena High School in 1965 and earned a liberal arts degree from Antioch University. During the 60’s Furutani was a civil rights activist who worked tirelessly to establish admissions programs for students of color at colleges and universities throughout the United States. He helped many campuses institute ethnic studies programs and was instrumental in UCLA and Long Beach State University adopting an Asian American Studies program. In 1969, Warren was one of the founders of the Manzanar Pilgrimage, an annual event to honor the 110,000 Japanese American men, women and children who were forced to leave their homes and were incarcerated during World War II. Warren also helped to create the Manzanar Committee that worked to get Manzanar designated as a national historical site. Today, thousands of people participate in the Manzanar Pilgrimage every year on the last Saturday of April. In the mid-1970s, Warren worked as a counselor at the Central Continuation High School in Downtown Los Angeles. He later joined the Asian American Student Services Center at UCLA where he worked as an administrator and developed programs to recruit, mentor and tutor students as well as encourage them to be active in community projects.
In 1987, Warren was the first Asian Pacific Islander American to ever be elected to the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board of Education. While a Board Member at LAUSD, Warren led the effort to grant honorary high school diplomas to Japanese Americans who were unable to finish high school because they were forced into internment camps during World War II. In 1999 Warren was elected to the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) Board of Trustees, the largest community college district in the country. During his 15 year service in both educational boards he was an early and strong advocate for the LAUSD and LACCD construction bonds, which directed billions of dollars into repairing and building new schools and remodeling and constructing new facilities on our community college campuses. Furutani was elected to replace fellow Democrat Laura Richardson in a special election in 2008. He served the 55th District for four years and 9 months in the California State Assembly. In the California State Legislature, Warren was appointed Chair of the Public Employees Retirement and Social Security committee, where he introduced pension reform measures, including Assembly Bill 340 to end the abusive practices of pension spiking and double dipping. He was also Chair of the Select Committee on Career Technical Education and Workforce Development where he focused on preparing students with the training they need for 21st Century jobs. He also founded the Community College Caucus and is a member of the Higher Education Master Plan Review Committee. Warren's work in the Capitol includes legislation related to career technical education, community colleges, clean air quality, and support for small businesses. He successfully advocated for State resources to help rebuild the Gerald Desmond Bridge in the Port of Long Beach. In 2008, he authored Assembly Bill 37 which granted honorary college degrees to Japanese Americans whose education was disrupted due to their wrongful incarceration during World War II. Since the bill was signed, thousands of Japanese Americans have received honorary degrees from college campuses throughout California. Furutani retired and left office on November 30, 2012 and was replaced by Republican Kurt Hagman. He currently lives in the Harbor Gateway with his wife Lisa Abe Furutani and their two sons.
8 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
The Warren Furutani Collection documents the breadth and duration of Warren Furutani’s four year service as a member of the California State Assembly for the 55th District. Furutani was elected to the California State Assembly on a special primary Election in 2007, replacing fellow Democrat Laura Richardson. He served the 55th District from February 7, 2008 until November 30, 2012. He was the last representative of the 55th district to represent the South Bay, Gardena, Carson, Lakewood, and Long Beach before the redistricting in 2011 by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission. During his tenure in the California Assembly, Furutani introduced several legislative bills related to career technical education, community colleges, clean air quality, and support for small businesses such as: AB 2142, AB 1294, AB 1448 and AJR 8. He is renowned for introducing Assembly Bill (AB37) which granted honorary college degrees to Japanese Americans whose education was disrupted due to their wrongful incarceration during World War II. The collection contains primarily legislative bills, constituent correspondence, awards, articles, plaques, videos, and photographs detailing Furutani’s service as a member of the California Assembly for the 55th District.
This collection was donated by Warren Furutani to the Archives and Special Collections at California State University, Dominguez Hills on December 12, 2012.
Materials were processed and arranged Oscar Sanchez in 2013.
- Inventory of the Warren Furutani Collection
- Finding aid prepared by Oscar Sanchez
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the California State University Dominguez Hills, Gerth Archives and Special Collections Repository
University Library South -5039 (Fifth Floor)
1000 E. Victoria St.
Carson CA 90747