A federal grant program aimed at preserving the history of World War II-era Japanese American incarceration could be in danger under President Donald Trump’s proposed 2019 budget.
The budget proposal, unveiled last month, declines to request funding for the Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) grant program, which has provided more than $21 million of funding for the research and preservation of World War II-era incarceration camps, collection centers, and Department of Justice prisons over nearly a decade.
On March 16, Rep. Adam Smith joined over 50 colleagues in signing a bipartisan letter to the Appropriations Committee, calling for continued funding for the preservation of historic sites.
The letter reads, “The Japanese American internment constituted one of the darkest periods in our nation’s history. It would be an even greater failure on our part not to guard against the future perpetration of similar racially motivated acts. The camps, relocation centers, processing areas, and other confinement sites located throughout the South and West are invaluable physical links that help to help current and future generations connect with the history and significance of the incarceration.”
Rep. Smith said preserving these sites “allows us to remain committed to protecting civil rights and to creating social progress, ensuring this suffering never occurs again.”
When we think of the words “Never Forget,” most Americans might think of 9-11. We connect because we remember. Hopefully we learn and grow into better human beings.
As President George W. Bush said in September 2016, during the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, “A great nation does not hide its history, it faces its flaws and corrects them.”