Arnold Maeda in 1942 with his parents, Toyoshige and Sasami, and their dog, Boy.

By PHYLLIS HAYASHIBARA

The Venice Japanese American Memorial Monument (VJAMM) Committee and the Manzanar Committee announce the second annual Arnold Maeda Manzanar Pilgrimage Grant for 2022. 

Maeda, who passed on Sept. 10, 2020, at the age of 94, inspired the VJAMM Committee, on which he served as a charter member. He proved to be a willing and articulate public speaker, and invaluable fundraiser. 

The VJAMM Committee dedicated the VJAMM on April 27, 2017, on the northwest corner of Venice and Lincoln boulevards in Venice. This marks the spot where some 1,000 persons of Japanese ancestry forcibly removed from Venice, Santa Monica, and Malibu lined up with only what they could carry for their day-long bus ride to the American concentration camp at Manzanar. Maeda remembered that day in his quote engraved on the monument:

“Instead of being worried about where we were going, I was obsessed with the fact that I had parted with my constant companion, my pet dog, Boy. For a fifteen-year old, that was unforgettably traumatic.”

Arnold Maeda (front left), pictured in 1943, lifted weights at Manzanar.

Despite that trauma of being forcibly uprooted from Santa Monica, and his family losing their home and nursery business, Arnold distinguished himself at Manzanar. He participated in music and drama productions, lifted weights, worked as a kitchen helper and a hospital orderly, and became president of his senior class of 1944 at Manzanar High School. After World War II ended, Arnold began to volunteer with the Manzanar Reunion Committee, the Santa Monica Nikkei Hall, and in 2010, with the VJAMM Committee.

Applicants will get to know Arnold Maeda by finding his many interviews and articles online, and will describe his life and legacy in an essay, short story, or poem.

Arnold and Brian Maeda in 2019 next to the Venice Japanese American Memorial Monument, which includes a quote from Arnold.

Applicants will address three or more areas of reflection: who Maeda was and how he became a role model for the Japanese American community; how Maeda’s legacy has influenced the applicant; how the applicant will apply the lessons learned from Maeda to his/her life today; how Maeda’s life in the American concentration camp at Manzanar compares/contrasts with the student’s life today; how collaboration and service to others have affected the applicant’s life; how and why working with the Manzanar Committee on the 2022 Manzanar Pilgrimage will help the applicant better understand Maeda’s life and legacy. 

The two recipients of the 2022 Arnold Maeda Manzanar Pilgrimage Grant will each receive a stipend of $500 to pay for their attendance at planning meetings and for their participation in the Manzanar Pilgrimage weekend of April 29–May 1, 2022 (to help with the expenses of transportation, lodging, and food). 

Deadline for application submissions is Jan. 7, 2022; all applicants will be notified of the judging results by the end of January 2022.        

To read Leslie Aguilar’s winning essay for the 2021 AM MP Grant, go to:

https://mcusercontent.com/bb2c5682efc993074662c30eb/files/3249d6ee-5269-40fd-9567-c680fe1ce69f/AguilarLeslie_Annual_Arnold_Maeda_Grant_.01.pdf

Download the information packet and application form at www.venicejamm.org or https://manzanarcommittee.org. Questions may be sent to: am-grant@manzanarcommittee.org

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