GARDENA — Kanji Sahara spoke about a World War II camp memorial he has proposed for the City of Torrance at the October meeting of the Greater L.A. JACL at Merit Park in Gardena.
The memorial, to be located in a city park, would have an Honor Roll Wall with the names of all those incarcerated in the 10 War Relocation Authority camps plus those interned in the Immigration and Naturalization Service and Army camps. The names would be by camp.
The walls will be made of black granite to resemble the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
The “Sites of Shame” will consist of at least 68 camps, listed below.
Temporary Detention Centers
Temporary INS Stations
Permanent INS Camps
Fort Sam Houston
Citizen Isolation Centers
Federal Bureau of Prisons
There will also be eight display panels, which will describe each of the camps.
On Dec. 10, Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi, Sahara and members of the Camp Memorial Committee met with Torrance Mayor Pat Furey to encourage the city of to become the program manager of building the physical wall. The committee would get the names of those incarcerated, make the display panels, and do other tasks on this project.
A person’s name will be on the wall of each camp in which he/she was incarcerated. For example, if a person went from Manzanar to Tule Lake, he/she will be on both the Manzanar and Tule Lake walls. So the incarceration of 110,000 people will result in 160,000 names on the walls. The cost engraving 160,000 names on the black granite panels is estimated at $1.2 million.
The Torrance City Council will vote on becoming the program manager in a February meeting. Sahara, who is active with the Tuna Canyon Detention Station Coalition, the Wintersburg Historic Preservation Task Force and other community organizations, plans to visit the councilmembers before the vote.
If you are a Torrance resident and want to visit your councilmember with Sahara, contact him at (310) 539-3733 or firstname.lastname@example.org.