Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community

Representative Kilmer Seeks Progress Report on NPS Appropriations

U.S. Representative Kilmer attends budget hearing – Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, & National Park Service on March 29, 2023. He speaks at 42:20.

The future of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial rests, in part, with the fortunes of its partnership with the National Park Service and its funding through the U.S. Department of the Interior. In addition to benefiting from the NPS’ technical expertise in the development of educational and interpretive programs, the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial Association (BIJAEMA) has applied for support from the Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) program, which is administered by the NPS.

Congress established the Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) grant program (Public Law 109-441, 120 Stat. 3288) for the preservation and interpretation of incarceration sites where Japanese Americans were detained during World War II. The law authorized up to $38 million for the entire life of the grant program to identify, research, evaluate, interpret, protect, restore, repair, and acquire historic incarceration sites in order that present and future generations may learn and gain inspiration from these sites and that these sites will demonstrate the nation’s commitment to equal justice under the law.

This week, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer, worked to shepherd BIJAEMA’s request for funding through the House Appropriations process. (See link above. Rep. Kilmer speaks at 42:20).

The future of BIJAC’s ability to reach the public at-large to share the history of Japanese Americans on Bainbridge Island–including but not limited to their incarceration during World War II–is inextricably linked to the Exclusion Memorial and the vision that Frank Kitamoto, Don Nakata, Junkoh Harui, and many others developed during its inception. As BIJAEMA works to ensure that the final phase, the Visitor Center, is completed while survivors of the Exclusion are here to witness its dedication, BIJAC anticipates an enduring memorial that will welcome visitors from around the world with better facilities for gathering, in comfort, with shelter from the elements, and enhanced interpretive elements.

Many are not aware of the complex process by which BIJAEMA applies for grants, both through the JACS program and through other discretionary funds administered by the U.S. Congress and the Washington State Congress. At present, these requests are being championed by U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, WA State Senator Christine Rolfes, and WA State Representative Drew Hansen as they work day and night through their appropriations processes. It is with impressive commitment that their offices are working to help preserve the history of the Japanese American Exclusion in hopes of ensuring it never happens again.

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