Although the future of the grants program remains in question, $1.3 million is awarded to educate the next generation.
WASHINGTON — The National Park Service announced more than $1.3 million in grants to fund preservation, restoration and education projects at World War II Japanese American Confinement Sites on April 13.
These projects will help tell the story of the more than120,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens, who were imprisoned by the U.S. government following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
“Using both traditional and innovative techniques, we are working with communities and partner organizations to preserve an important part of our nation’s history,” National Park Service Deputy Director Dan Smith said. “More than 75 years later, new generations of Americans can use these resources to learn the struggles and perseverance of Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II.”
Congress established the JACS grant program in 2006. To date, the announcement brings the current award total from the program to more than $25 million.
However, the future of the program is in jeopardy. President Donald Trump’s new budget proposal, unveiled Feb. 12, called for the elimination of funding for the JACS grants program in FY2019.
In response, JACL has been active on Capitol Hill, meeting with senate staff to explain the program’s importance. In addition, Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii has written a letter of support to the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee. To date, eight senators have signed on in support of Schatz’s letter, including Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). The deadline for senators to co-sign on the letter is April 25.
This year’s grants will fund a diverse array of projects. Using grant funds, the Friends of Minidoka will digitize more than 1,000 items in its collection to share with the public the history of the Minidoka incarceration site in Idaho.
The Japanese American Service Committee, working in partnership with the Chicago Japanese American Historical Society, will preserve more than 140 oral histories focused on the Military Intelligence Service and the broader experiences of those impacted by the WWII incarceration and resettlement process. It will also develop two multimedia exhibits and conduct teacher trainings to help educators integrate these materials into Chicago middle and high schools.
JACS grants may be awarded to projects associated with the 10 War Relocation Authority centers established in 1942 and more than 40 additional confinement sites.
The program’s mission is to educate future generations about the injustice of the World War II confinement of Japanese Americans and demonstrate the nation’s commitment to equal justice under the law.
Successful proposals are chosen through a competitive process that requires applicants to match the grant award with $1 in nonfederal funds or “in-kind” contributions for every $2 they receive in federal money.