JA Confinement Sites Consortium to Make First JACL Convention Appearance

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Rep. Mark Takano, a California Democrat and Heart Mountain legacy, addressed members of the JACSC delegation visiting Washington last Feb. 28. (Photo by Brian Liesinger)

By RAY LOCKER

Aiming to capitalize on the unity and success of their February meetings in Washington, the members of the Japanese American Confinement Sites Consortium (JACSC) will meet for the first time at the annual conference of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) in Salt Lake City this summer.

The JACL’s theme for the conference is “Advocacy, Inclusion and Action,” which fits well with JACSC’s goals. Over the last three years, the consortium has become more unified and focused in its efforts to preserve the various confinement sites around the country and to advocate for more federal money to pay for their preservation.

In February, JACSC members met with dozens of representatives and senators to urge the continued funding for the federal Japanese American Confinement Sites program administered by the Interior Department. That funding is again in jeopardy because of proposed cuts by the Trump Administration.

During the JACL convention, which runs from July 31 to Aug. 4, the consortium members will participate in panels on multigenerational trauma, National Park Service parks and partners, multigenerational activism, JACL resolution updates to which JACSC can contribute, and advocacy and action for groups and organizations.

The JACSC program committee for the JACL convention includes Brian Liesinger, David Inoue, Hanako Wakatsuki, Kurt Ikeda of the Oregon Nikkei Endowment, Mia Russell of the Friends of Minidoka, Shirley Higuchi, Sam Mihara and Stan Shikuma. Ikeda and Russell will be co-moderators of the business portion of the meeting on Saturday, Aug. 3.

JACSC consists of 27 groups affiliated with the 10 War Relocation Authority confinement sites, the Justice Department detention centers, the federal government and other organizations. It was created in 2016 to bring the various groups together to enhance their overall ability to commemorate the Japanese American incarceration and preserve the various sites.

Since their February meeting, the JACSC members have educated Congress on the need to restore the lost funding to the JACS program and convened groups to call attention to the similarities between the administration’s border policies and the Japanese American incarceration.

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