Zev Yaroslavsky, representing the Third District on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, has sent a letter of support and a contribution of $5,000 to the Venice Japanese American Memorial Marker Committee.
“The internment of Japanese Americans is a sad and shameful chapter in recent American history,” reads Yaroslavsky’s letter, “but it is a story that remained hidden far too long. It deserves to be told, examined, analyzed, and confronted. In the name of wartime security, the constitutional rights of thousands of loyal American citizens were egregiously violated, and we must be ever mindful that such a breach never be allowed to recur.”
The VJAMM Committee’s letter of appreciation to Yaroslavsky echoes the supervisor’s sentiments by quoting from the text to be inscribed on the monument: “The forced removal and imprisonment of citizens of the U. S. without any regard to due process or the writ of habeas corpus violated their rights under the U. S. Constitution. May this Venice Japanese American Memorial Marker remind us to be forever vigilant about defending our constitutional rights, so that the powers of government shall never again perpetrate an injustice against any group based solely on ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, race, or religion.”
The letter also thanks the Board of Supervisors for its June 2012 unanimous revocation and repudiation of the 1942 board’s resolution in support of Executive Order 9066, which had authorized the U.S. Army to identify militarily sensitive areas, and to evacuate any persons from those areas, which resulted in the forced removal and incarceration of some 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry from Washington, Oregon, and California.
The 9-foot, 6-inch-tall black granite VJAMM obelisk will permanently acknowledge Yaroslavsky’s generosity. His name will join other donors of $5,000 or more, including Los Angeles City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl (11th District), who contributed $5,000 in April 2012; and the National Park Service Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program of the U. S. Department of the Interior, which awarded the VJAMM Committee a 2:1 matching grant of $50,000 in March 2012.
The VJAMM will be installed on the northwest corner of Venice and Lincoln boulevards, where (quoting from the monument text) “in April 1942, during World War II, more than a thousand American men, women, and children of Japanese ancestry in Venice, Santa Monica, and Malibu reported … with only what they could carry. The Western Defense Command and Fourth Army issued Civilian Exclusion Order No. 7 which gave them only days to dispose of their property and possessions. Buses transported them directly to Manzanar War Relocation Authority camp in Inyo County, where many internees were incarcerated for more than three years.”
For a complete list of individual donors and organizational supporters, visit www.venicejamm.org.