And now for something rather uplifting about a depressing chapter in American history. On Mar. 22, I received a press release stating that the National Park Service will start handing out $2.9 million in 17 grants “to preserve and interpret the confinement sites where over 120,000 Japanese Americans were detained during World War II.”
Sadly, the grants don’t include any money for Maui (an internment camp sat in Haiku on the site of the current Horizon Academy; click here to read the 2007 story MauiTime published about that camp). But U.S. Congresswoman Mazie Hirono, who represents Maui, is currently running for the U.S. Senate and was born in Japan, finds great hope in the appropriation.
“There is a misconception that Japanese Americans in Hawaii were not interned during World War II,” said Hirono in a statement concerning the grants. “The fact is the opposite is true. Some 1,800 Japanese Americans from Hawaii were sent to internment camps in the islands or the U.S. mainland. What remains of these camp sites reminds us of how wartime hysteria led to the incarceration of thousands of innocent American citizens based on race. The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii’s project ‘Just’ Youth: Taking the Lessons of Hawaii’s WWII Confinement Sites to Our High Schools’ will share how civil rights and personal freedoms were lost resulting in the internment of Japanese-Americans across the mainland U.S. and Hawaii. Mahalo to the JCCH and the U.S. Department of the Interior for working to preserve these sites and stories to ensure those dark times will never be repeated.”
Click here to see more about the projects that will receive money.
Photo: National Archives/Wikimedia Commons