MALIBU—In memory of the 1000 residents from Malibu, Santa Monica and Venice imprisoned in Japanese Internment Camps during WWII, the Malibu City Council allocated $5,000 to the Venice-Japanese American Memorial on February 27. Malibu native Amy Takahashi Ioki, 90, who was imprisoned has been a key figure towards constructing the memorial.
The council unanimously allocated the funds to the memorial after representatives from the Venice Japanese American Memorial Committee travelled to Malibu City Hall on February 13 requesting for the funds. The monument is 9 foot and 6 inches tall, with solid black obelisk that was shipped from India. It will be located at the northwest corner of Venice and Lincoln Boulevards in Venice, the same location from where 1,000 local residents of Japanese ancestry were taken by bus 220 miles away to be imprisoned at Manzanar in April 1942.
The funds were allocated from the undesignated reserve. The money was allocated immediately so that it could be used for the memorial’s engraving and its installation on April 27.
Loki, a member of the committee, couldn’t make it to the meeting but in a statement indicated, “As a 16-year-old, I didn’t realize the injustice fully, but in time we learned how our rights as citizens were ignored,” will be engraved on the memorial.
“Nothing can ever undo the injustice inflicted upon these innocent members of our community who were torn from their homes and communities and robbed of their jobs, possessions, and liberty,” said Mayor Lou La Monte. “But thanks to the efforts of the Committee, this beautiful and moving monument can help ensure that we never forget and never repeat such appalling acts.”
Manzanar was one of 10 concentration camps created by the U.S. government. Over 120,000 men, women and children of Japanese ancestry, most of whom lived on the Pacific coast, were held prisoner at the camps. Sixty-two percent of the internees were United States citizens. With Executive Order 9066, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the action after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, under the assumption that people of Japanese ancestry living in the U.S. were a threat to national security and could be collaborating with the enemy during World War II.
Other agencies that have contributed funds toward the Monument include the cities of Santa Monica and Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, and the National Park Service, as well as numerous community-based organizations, businesses, houses of worship, and individual donors.
The Committee plans a public dedication ceremony for the monument on Thursday, April 27 at 10:00 a.m. To obtain more information on the event visit http://venicejamm.org/.
Written By Arjun Balasundaram and Casey Jacobs