The public is invited to Kansha Obon ll: Dance for Our Seniors on Saturday, Aug. 7, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Japanese American National Museum Plaza, 100 N. Central Ave. (at First Street) in Little Tokyo.
Film and TV actress Tamlyn Tomita (“The Good Doctor,” “Cobra Kai,” “Star Trek: Picard”) will emcee an evening of entertainment, education, performance and dance, featuring the taiko sounds of Maceo “The Demon Drummer of ELA” Hernandez and poetry from Mike Sonksen aka “Mike the Poet” and Asian American Studies professor Allan Aquino. Elaine Fukumoto, Rev. Ray Fukumoto and their team will lead participants in Bon odori (Bon dance).
Special guests include State Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, event sponsors Assemblymembers Al Muratsuchi and Miguel Santiago, Los Angeles City Councilmember Kevin de León, Save Our Seniors Network and the Sakura Intermediate Care Facility Family Council. Speakers will include Nancy Takayama, Pacific Southwest District JACL governor, and Ken Nagata, president of the Board of Directors for Rissho Kosei-kai Buddhist Church.
“We call it Kansha Obon, not in the sense of being a Buddhist event, but rather an event in the spirit of commemorating those who have died over the past year, especially the 123 who passed away from COVID at Pacifica facilities,” SOS said in a statement. “We also commemorate all our seniors who were transferred out of Sakura ICF during the pandemic, those who have suffered ‘transfer trauma,’ and those who have passed away as a result of being taken away from their home, friends and community at Sakura ICF.
“Save our Seniors Network and Sakura ICF Family Council also welcome all to come and dance the Bon odori to stop the evictions of our seniors and continue to support those who remain in Sakura Intermediate Care Facility. Come dance to join our final August push for AB 279, and to show the residents, their families, Sacramento and Pacifica Companies that the community is committed to saving our seniors. Come dance and stand with our Japanese-American/Chicanx/Latinx community in Boyle Heights and all our sisters and brothers in Lincoln Heights, Little Tokyo, and Chinatown standing against gentrifying companies like Pacifica who are evicting our seniors to build market-rate condos and resorts.
“Let’s dance, odorimasho, y vamos a bailar: To stop the evictions of our seniors! To urge assurances that the remaining Sakura ICF residents may continue living at the same campus! To commemorate the 123 seniors lost to COVID-19 at Pacifica facilities and those who have passed away from ‘transfer trauma’ after being transferred from Sakura ICF! To put a stop to further corporate violence against Asian seniors! For the passage of AB 279! For healthcare justice! For bilingual bicultural eldercare! To stand in solidarity with residents of Boyle Heights against gentrification! To celebrate community resistance and resilience!”
Pacifica is evicting seniors from their home at Sakura ICF, an iconic Japanese American community treasure. The community opposes the evictions and supports the seniors who are not being provided viable alternative facility options. Some remain in the facility and want assurances to remain on the campus with bilingual-bicultural services. Pacifica has issued a clear-out date of Aug. 23. If signed into law, AB 279 will halt the closure of Sakura ICF through at least July 1, 2022.