Girl Scout Troop 5325, which meets at the Venice Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, arrived at the northwest corner of Venice and Lincoln boulevards on June 15 as the first youth group to schedule a volunteer clean-up day for the Venice Japanese American Memorial Monument.
Under the supervision of leader Victoria Yamashita and Girls Scout mom Lisa Yumori, Senior Girls Scouts Leila Fernandez, Inori Kawauchiya, Lindsey Kojima, Amanda Matsubara, Jacklyn Oldoerp, Chrissy Wakasa and Ally Yamashita and Junior Jennifer Yamashita toweled off the granite obelisk with Windex, and swept up the sidewalk debris between the two bus shelters on the corner.
VJAMM Committee members Phyllis Hayashibara, Arnold Maeda, and Suzanne Thompson met the Girl Scouts, and treated them to a sushi lunch donated by Esther Chaing of Hama Sushi in Venice.
The VJAMM was dedicated on April 27 to commemorate the forced removal of 1,000 persons of Japanese ancestry from Venice, Santa Monica, and Malibu and their required assembly on the northwest corner of Venice and Lincoln in April 1942. They brought with them only what they could carry, with only a few days’ notice, and would be transported by bus to the first of ten American concentration camps to be built and eventually administered by the War Relocation Authority, known as Manzanar.
After Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 of Feb. 19, 1942 authorized the U.S. Army to declare areas of Washington, Oregon, and California militarily sensitive and subject to evacuation. Without due process or the writ of habeas corpus, 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry, two-thirds of them U.S. citizens by birth, lost their homes, businesses, and liberties for the duration of World War II. The VJAMM stands as a reminder to all that constitutional rights can and will be violated unless we all know and exercise our rights, so that the powers of government will never again be abused in any unjust discrimination or incarceration based solely on one’s ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, race, or religion.
The VJAMM Committee plans to schedule monthly maintenance days with various community youth groups with their adult leaders, and seeks donations of refreshments for the volunteers. For more information, contact Phyllis Hayashibara at [email protected]