Venice Japanese American Memorial Marker

On April 25, 1942, hundreds of Japanese Americans reported to 933 1/2 Venice Boulevard, near the intersection of Lincoln and Venice Boulevard in response to Civilian Exclusion Order No. 7 which ordered the evacuation of people of Japanese ancestry, "alien and non-alien" alike, out of the Malibu, Santa Monica, West Los Angeles, and Venice areas. Over the next three days, some 3,000 Japanese Americans lined up at this intersection for the day-long bus ride to the Manzanar War Relocation Authority in the Owens Valley.

The Venice Japanese American Memorial Marker Committee, consisting of educators, newspaper publishers, artists, and former internees, has continued the campaign launched by the Venice Peace and Freedom Party and the Free Venice Beachhead, in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, to erect a memorial marker at the northwest corner of Venice and Lincoln Boulevards to commemorate the Japanese American evacuation and internment that itself followed in the aftermath of Japan's attack on the U. S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941.

Los Angeles City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl of the 11th District, and Linda Lucks, President of the Venice Neighborhood Council have pledged support for this Japanese American Memorial Marker, and the Committee has received letters of support from Beyond Baroque, Free Venice Beachhead, Nikkei Student Union at UCLA, Social and Public Art Resource Center, Venice Arts Council, Venice Community Housing Corporation, Venice High School New Media Academy students, Venice Historical Society, Venice Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, Venice Japanese Community Center, Venice Neighborhood Council, Venice Peace and Freedom Party, Venice Town Council, Venice-Culver Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League.

Three formidable goals remain: to secure the approval of the Los Angeles City Council Public Works Committee to build the Japanese American Memorial Marker on city property, to secure a memorial marker design that conforms to community desires and city regulations, and to raise the funds that would support and maintain the memorial marker.

Phyllis Hayashibara teaches World History and U. S. History at Venice High School. In April 2009, one of her New Media Academy U. S. History students brought in the April 2009 edition of the Free Venice Beachhead for a current events discussion. This issue featured the April 25, 1942 photograph of Japanese Americans lined up on Venice Boulevard, west of Lincoln, and a request that readers email Councilmember Bill Rosendahl to support the building of a memorial marker on the northwest corner of Venice and Lincoln so that such a violation of U. S. Constitutional rights would be remembered and never repeated again to any other group of people in the United States. Councilmember Rosendahl responded immediately to the students' emails, invited the students to make a presentation before the Los Angeles City Council, and on May 29, 2009, sent a chartered bus to transport us to Los Angeles City Hall for the presentation, a visit to the Councilmember's offices, and a tour of City Hall. Councilmember Rosendahl entered a motion before the City Council in April 2010, which has been referred to the Public Works Committee, which will soon take up the issue.

The Venice Japanese American Memorial Marker committee has been meeting regularly since March 2010, and recently held a community meeting on Saturday, September 11, 2010 at the Venice Hongwanji Buddhist Temple in Culver City, to spread awareness of and support for the Japanese American Memorial Marker campaign, interview former internees, generate design ideas, and to raise funds. Members of the VJAMM Committe include Don Geagan, Nikki Gilbert, Phyllis Hayashibara, Fred Hoshiyama, Barbara Lonsdale, Arnold Maeda, Marc Salvatierra, Sam Shimoguchi, Jim Smith, Alice Stek, Suzanne Thompson, Yosh Tomita, Emily Winters.

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