A campaign promoted by the Beachhead since 2002 is gaining new supporters.
At a meeting of the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) Board, June 15, a slide show was presented, two former internees spoke, Arnold Maeda and Yosh Tomita. Everyone who spoke in public comment was in favor, including Scott Pine, a Venice High School student, who said: “This monument will clearly show the people of Venice, and every citizen who passes by this monument, how easy it is to lose our precious democratic rights. Besides the monument’s symbolic meaning, it marks the historical setting where Japanese Americans gathered, to be relocated.”
He added: “I found out about this tremendous idea in an article in the Free Venice Beachhead.”
The VNC voted unanimously to support the monument and to write a letter to Councilmember Bill Rosendahl calling on him to introduce a motion in the L.A. City Council to authorize the memorial.
Japanese on the West Coast, both U.S. citizens and non-citizens, were put in concentration camps during World War II. Those in Venice were ordered to report to the northwest corner of Venice and Lincoln Boulevards where they were put on buses to Manzanar.
In recent months, new endorsements have come from the Venice Arts Council, the Venice Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, the Venice Japanese American Community Center, the Culver-Venice Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League, the Nikkei Student Union at UCLA, the New Media Academy students at Venice High, the Venice Town Council and the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC).
The effort was initiated by the Venice Peace and Freedom Chapter which circulated petitions in 2001. Approximately 200 Venetians signed in support of the idea.