Rose Matsui Ochi '72


Director of Community Relations Services, Department of Justice

Rose Matsui Ochi is a survivor. As one of the thousands of Japanese-Americans forced into internment camps by the United States government after the Pearl Harbor bombing, she knew that she wanted to make a difference in her world. Ochi, now the director of Community Relations Services at the Department of Justice, has done just that. She began her legal career serving as the counsel of record in the landmark educational reform case, Serrano v. Priest.

She later became the first Asian-American woman to serve at the assistant-attorney-general level, where she emerged as a key figure in fostering national racial reconciliation efforts. Former Attorney General Janet Reno then tapped her to represent the Department in the President's Initiative on Race White-House Task-Force. Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn was so impressed with Ochi's record that he appointed her to the Los Angeles Police Commission. However, her proudest moment is serving as the pro bono counsel for the Manzanar Committee, which helped establish the Manzanar Internment Camp's historic site.

"I have faith that the answers are in a public solution," said Ochi, "It's important to be part of that answer."