Cantwell and Inslee Celebrate New Funding & Progress at the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial
BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, WA – This morning, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Rep. Jay Inslee (WA-01) toured the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial and applauded funding they helped secure to finish an educational installation at the site. The educational wall will tell the story of the first Japanese Americans rounded up during World War II and sent to internment camps from Eagledale Ferry Dock on Bainbridge Island. Cantwell and Inslee were joined today by Sallie Maron, Director of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community; Karen Yoshitomi, Regional Director of the Pacific Northwest District of the Japanese American Citizens League; Clarence Moriwaki, Former Director of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community; and many other Washingtonians.
“Eagledale Ferry Dock marks the beginning of one of the worst violations of constitutional rights in American history, which is why it is essential we learn from the past so that we will never repeat it,” Senator Maria Cantwell said. “Completing the memorial’s educational wall will ensure that the stories of the first Japanese Americans interned during World War II are passed on for future generations. I am proud to have worked with my colleague Jay Inslee to provide federal recognition of this site and secure the funding needed to complete this memorial to this sad and important chapter in our history.”
“The memorial not only reminds us that we must learn from the mistakes of our past, but to honor those who suffered from those mistakes,” said Rep. Jay Inslee. “I have been an advocate for this memorial for many years and when the opportunity arose to write a letter of support to the National Park Service for these funds I considered it an honor. Senator Cantwell and I recognize this as a wise investment in our community and will continue to work together on this project.”
On May 19, the National Park Service awarded the Memorial $183,000, enabling the design and installation of educational materials on a 227-foot stone and cedar wall to be completed. The educational installation is the latest phase in the $9 million memorial project. The wall will tell the story of the 227 Bainbridge residents of Japanese ancestry who were the first in America to be rounded up and sent to internment camps in 1942. The Memorial on Bainbridge is a satellite unit of the Minidoka Internment National Historic Monument in Jerome County, Idaho, which marks the place where many of those forcibly removed from Bainbridge Island were eventually sent. In all, 12,892 residents from Washington state were sent to detainment camps.
Cantwell and Inslee have been involved in the progress of the Memorial for years. They spearheaded the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Memorial Bill, which passed the Senate in 2008 and designated the Memorial a National Park Service site.
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