By FLOYD MORI
As most Japanese Americans know, the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grants Program was approved by Congress in 2006. The bill allowed for funds to provide for the preservation of the camp sites of World War II in which 120,000 people of Japanese heritage were unjustly incarcerated. It also helped preserve the history of Japanese Americans.
Since the current funding for the original bill will expire in the near future, Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento) has introduced HR 1931, Japanese American Confinement Education Act, into the U.S. House of Representatives. A companion bill has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).
The bill would provide continued funding for the grant program that will allow additional work on camp preservation. The bill will also provide separate funds for educational programs that will help to tell the story of Japanese Americans.
There are a number of co-sponsors for the bill with the anticipation that others will be added.
Endorsing organizations for the bill are:
Japanese American Citizens League (JACL)
National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA)
Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in Historical Preservation
Heart Mountain Foundation
Japanese American National Museum (JANM)
Anti-Defamation League (ADL)
Fred T. Korematsu Institute
OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates
Asian Pacific Islander Americans in Historical Preservation (APIAHIP)
Go For Broke National Education Center
Kizuna Little Tokyo Inc.
Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii
Full Spectrum Features
National Parks Conservation Association
Friends of Minidoka
(More may have been added since this list was compiled)
JACL chapter endorsements: Venice West L.A., Seattle, Wasatch Front North, Twin Cities, Portland, Eden Township (southeast Bay Area of California), Philadelphia, Florin Sacramento Valley, San Diego, Albuquerque, Washington, D.C. (More may have been added since this list was compiled)
All JACL chapters and Asian American or civil rights organizations are being asked to endorse and support this bill.
If you or any of your friends and family are able to contact members of Congress or organizations to gain support for this legislation, it would be very helpful. Letters of support may be forwarded to Congresswoman Matsui’s office in Washington, D.C.
Thank you for your help.
Floyd Mori is former president/CEO of Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) and former national executive director emeritus of the Japanese American Citizens League.