ORANGE — Patti Hirahara received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from Rep. J. Luis Correa of California’s 46th Congressional District at his second annual “Woman of the Year” award ceremony at Chapman University on March 23.
Hirahara was nominated by the Anaheim High School Alumni Association for her work in preserving the Japanese American legacy in the United States, as well as at her alma mater of Anaheim High School.
She is working on two projects this summer to hold a two-hour special program at Anaheim High School for Poston, Ariz. descendants entitled “The Poston Experience: Paving the Way for the Next Generations” and the “I Am an American: Japanese Incarceration in Time of Fear — The Unknown History of Anaheim’s Japanese Pioneers” exhibition at the Anaheim Muzeo and Cultural Center. This will be the first time the City of Anaheim will be holding these events.
Correa has been very helpful in promoting the history of the Japanese pioneers in Anaheim and supported the city’s National Park Service Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant proposal to hold its upcoming exhibition.
“I am very honored to have been nominated by my high school alma mater as the 46th District’s Woman of the Year,” said Hirahara. “What we have been able to achieve in the City of Anaheim is a wonderful testament to the people of Anaheim, who are working together to tell our story, and I look forward to having people come to our Poston program and see our 5,000-square-foot exhibition, which will be held from August through November.”
The 46th Congressional District includes Anaheim, Orange, Garden Grove and Santa Ana.
The granddaughter of George Hirahara and daughter of Frank Hirahara, who documented life at the Heart Mountain, Wyo. camp in photographs, Patti Hirahara has been identifying the individuals in her family’s photographs and giving Heart Mountain descendants a piece of history that they never knew existed.
She was a featured speaker at the FDR Presidential Library and Museum in 2017, and last year she received the Honorary Alumna Award from the Washington State University Alumni Association. This is the highest honor that non-alumni can receive, and she is the first Japanese American to receive the award since its inception in 1966.
In June 2018, Hirahara received a proclamation from the Anaheim City Council for her work in preserving the history of Japanese Americans locally and nationwide.