HUNTINGTON BEACH — In response to last month’s fire, Support Historic Wintersburg, an ad hoc coalition, is planning a demonstration on Saturday, March 19, from 12 to 1 p.m. at 7642 Warner Ave. (southwest corner of Warner and Nichols) in Huntington Beach.

The theme is “Stand Up to Anti-Asian Violence — Support Historic Wintersburg.”

Event organizers said in a statement, “A fire destroyed two buildings that were part of a Japanese American landmark in Huntington Beach on Feb. 25, 2022. Arson is a strong possibility, but Republic Services, owners of the land on which the buildings sat, demolished what remained of the structures only hours after the fires, destroying valuable evidence. Republic has a history of attempting to demolish all buildings on the historic site in their interests to turn a profit.

“Historic Wintersburg volunteers have been attacked by racists on social media, physically stalked, photographed and have been subjected to other acts of intimidation as part of a larger campaign against the project to preserve this Japanese America history site.”

The Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force and other organizations across the country, includng the Japanese American National Museum, APIAs in Historical Preservation and Tuna Canyon Detention Station Coalition, have called for an investigation of the fire and criticized Republic Services for ongoing lack of security and maintenance at the site.

According to the task force, the 112-year-old manse (parsonage) of the Wintersburg Japanese Mission was damaged in the fire, but the building was bulldozed before any determination could be made about the cause of the fire. The task force also accused Republic of demolishing the 1910 Wintersburg Japanese Mission, even though it was not impacted by the fire. The remaining buildings are still vulnerable to vandalism and arson.

Coalition members include Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force, Preserve Orange County, Heritage Museum of Orange County, Progressive Asian Network for Action (PANA), Neighborhood Safety Companions, AAPI vs. Hate South Bay, Greater L.A. Japanese American Citizens League, Sansei Legacy, Save Our Seniors Network, and API-RISE (Re-entry through Inclusion, Support, Empowerment).

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