Venice Dolphins, Girl Scout Troop 5325 Maintain VJAMM

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By PHYLLIS HAYASHIBARA

After besting the Hollywood Dodgers at their morning basketball game in Montebello, the Venice Dolphins basketball team came directly to the northwest corner of Venice and Lincoln boulevards on April 15.

They swept up the sidewalk debris from the two bus stop shelters on Venice and on Lincoln to the Venice Japanese American Memorial Monument, and wiped down the VJAMM with Windex and soft cloths.

Girl Scout leader Victoria Yamashita offered to volunteer her scouts, many of whom also play basketball for the Venice Dolphins, to spruce up the VJAMM in time for the VJAMM’s one-year commemoration on the morning of April 19.

The VJAMM Committee deeply appreciates the participation of Iris Hirata, Lindsey Kojima, Ally Lee, Amanda Matsubara, Jacklyn Oldoerp, Chrissy Wakasa, and Ally Yamashita.

Lindsey will soon be interviewed for her proposed Gold Award Project. She will create a children’s book and a video about the VJAMM. The project will feature images of the VJAMM and interviews with former Manzanar internees who provided poignant quotes for the monument.

VJAMM Committee member Phyllis Hayashibara will help coordinate Lindsey’s interviews with committee members who were incarcerated at Manzanar, including Mae Kakehashi of Venice, Arnold Maeda of Santa Monica, and Brian Maeda, who was born in Manzanar. Amy Ioki of Malibu and Dr. Thomas Yoshikawa, who are not committee members, will also be interviewed.

The late Yosh Tomita, formerly of Venice, interned in Manzanar as a youngster, and a charter member of the VJAMM Committee, provided a quote that expressed gratitude to the “many Nisei and Sansei who worked successfully for redress and reparations with the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.”

Lindsey’s Gold Award book and video project will bring the VJAMM and Japanese American history to a younger generation. She will also conduct workshops for students to learn about the VJAMM and the history that it represents, encouraging her students to visit the monument with a study guide/questionnaire, and will develop a patch program for scouts and other youth groups, so that the lessons of this history are never forgotten.

The final lesson of the VJAMM comes in the last paragraph on the front of the monument: “May this Venice Japanese American Memorial Monument remind us to be forever vigilant about defending our constitutional rights. The powers of government must never again perpetrate an injustice against any group based solely on ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, race, or religion.”

Visit www.venicejamm.org for the complete text and all five quotes.

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