Budget Proposal Eliminates Funding for JA History Preservation

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Japanese American confinement sites of World War II. (National Japanese American Historical Society)

WASHINGTON — The Japanese American Citizens League issued the following statement on Feb. 15.

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The president’s budget proposal unveiled this week includes the elimination of funding for the Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) Grants Program.

The JACS Grant program, authorized in 2006, has provided over $21 million in grants to 163 grantees representing states, counties, local governments, and nonprofit organizations. Funds may be used to support the research, interpretation, and preservation of Japanese American confinement sites.

The JACS grant program has enjoyed broad bipartisan support and was initially passed through both the House and Senate without objection from either party. The program was initially authorized for up to $38 million, which means there remains close to $17 million still available to support the ongoing preservation of our Japanese American history.

It is especially disturbing that this budget proposal be released this week, one week before the 76th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066 on Feb. 19, 1942, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. E.O. 9066 paved the way for the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans for the duration of World War II. The JACS grant program is an important component of our country’s recognition of the egregious wrong that was done, and the need to remember and preserve that history so that it not be repeated.

This week and next, Japanese American and other partner communities around the country have planned activities to recognize this anniversary as a Day of Remembrance. JACL urges individuals to locate an activity in their community, to attend, and affirm our country’s belief in justice and that a mistake such as this will never happen again.

For more information about Day of Remembrance activities, please refer to the JACL website at: https://jacl.org/2018-day-of-remembrance-national-events-directory/

The president’s budget proposal is but one step in the process for determining the funding for next year. JACL will work to impress the importance of this program upon the administration and members of Congress to ensure that 2019 funding is continued at the same level as years past.

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