Standing in the photo is spring 1944 Heart Mountain High School ASB President Kunio Yamamoto, whose family lived in Los Angeles and was sent to the Pomona Assembly Center prior to being sent to Wyoming. Courtesy of Washington State University Libraries MASC
Standing in the photo is spring 1944 Heart Mountain High School ASB President Kunio Yamamoto, whose family lived in Los Angeles and was sent to the Pomona Assembly Center prior to being sent to Wyoming. (Courtesy of Washington State University Libraries MASC)

POMONA — The Pomona Public Library Foundation, as part of the Pomona Library’s “Together We Read” program, will present ABC7 news anchor David Ono, who will show and discuss his special report entitled “Witness: The Legacy of Heart Mountain,” which aired on Channel 7.

The program will take place on Saturday, Nov. 16, in the Trendle Auditorium at Western University of Health Science’s Wineberg Center. A light breakfast will be provided to guests. Admission is $15 general, $5 for students.

Ono is the co-anchor for ABC7 Eyewitness News at 4 and 6 p.m. He joined ABC7 in 1996. During his tenure, he has hosted “Eye on L.A.” and co-anchored Eyewitness News with Ellen Leyva for close to two decades.

Ono has won 16 Emmys and three Edward R. Murrow Awards, including two for his coverage of the devastation following the January 2010 earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. In March 2011, he traveled to Japan to report on the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands.

Pomona Library’s Special Collections includes many items from the Japanese American internment, especially items related to the assembly center at the Pomona Fairgrounds. Among those items is a collection of the assembly center newsletter, which was published by the internees during their stay in Pomona. Also included in the collection are the Lavina Penley Letters. Penley had been a librarian at Mt. Sac, Emerson Middle School and the Pomona Public Library.

When Penley was a school librarian at Emerson (then through 10th grade), she befriended several of her Japanese American students and their families who were then living in Pomona. When they were moved to the assembly center starting in May 1942, she visited them and began corresponding with them. After leaving the assembly center, most of the internees were sent to the camp at Heart Mountain, Wyo. (near Cody), where they remained for the duration of the war.

The library’s collection contains nearly a hundred of these letters, and selections from several of them will be read during the program by students from Pomona Unified School District.

The program will feature a guest panel including Patti Hirahara, who was featured in Ono’s report and whose father and grandfather took over 1,000 photographs at Heart Mountain; and Ike Hatchimonji, who was interned at Heart Mountain as a teenager after being transported from the Pomona Assembly Center. Other guests are expected but have not confirmed at this time.

“This is an exciting event tying into the library’s ‘Together We Read’ program. We’re so happy to be able to participate with the library this year and hope that it will become an annual part of the foundation’s mission,” stated John Clifford, president of the Pomona Public Library Foundation. “Getting David Ono and his excellent report on Heart Mountain makes this a special day for ‘Together We Read.’ We hope the community supports these efforts.”

“Together We Read” is an annual program sponsored by the Pomona Public Library along with a wide range of community organizations dedicated to supporting literacy and reading in the city. Each year one book is chosen for the community to read and learn more about. The 2013 book chosen was “Farewell to Manzanar” by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston.

Coffee, tea, and light breakfast items will be served beginning at 9 a.m. The program will begin at 10 a.m. Tickets may be purchased online at

Additional tickets will be available at the door, but seating is limited. Parking is available behind the Wineberg Center just off of First Street and Gibbs.

Contributions, which are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law, may be made to Pomona Public Library Foundation by mail or by calling (909) 374-2050, emailing, or by using the “donate” button on the website.

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