The Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community deplores the alarming rise of anti-Asian racism, hate and violence, and we share in the Asian community’s collective grief of the horrific killings of Asian women in Atlanta.
Ever since the former president uttered – and continues to use this day – the racist tropes “China virus” and “Kung Flu,” we were afraid that horrific events like this would eventually happen.
Left unchecked, history has shown that fear, racism, hate and vengeance lead to predictable, horrible and destructive destinations.
The history on Bainbridge Island suggests a different destiny.
In World War II, our greater community stood tall against the nationally sanctioned tidal wave of fear, racism and prejudice against Japanese Americans.
Our community stood by their Japanese American friends, classmates, neighbors and coworkers by keeping in touch and protecting their property.
Our community’s newspaper, the Bainbridge Review, displayed uncommon editorial courage, being the only newspaper in the nation to consistently oppose and object to the unconstitutional actions of our government.
Our community held open their arms and hearts at the end of the war, encouraging and welcoming home more than half of their Japanese American friends and neighbors.
Our community has built a memorial wall “Nidoto Nai Yoni” – Let it not Happen Again, to educate and remind us of our dark history and the vigilance we all must have to protect our rights.
Our nation should take inspiration from our island’s uncommon, patriotic legacy.
Our nation must stand together and say with one undeniable voice that we will not tolerate intolerance, violence, and deliberate violations of our liberties and constitution.
The Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community (BIJAC) honors the heritage of the Issei (first–generation Japanese) who came to the United States, and particularly to Bainbridge Island, to make a new life for themselves and their children. We hope to promote a better understanding of the diversity of our nation by sharing their history, customs, and values. A principal focus for BIJAC has been the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial, which honors those forced to leave their homes during World War II. The Memorial is the product of the efforts of local, county, state, and federal governments, as well as many, many individuals who have donated their time, money and energy toward its completion. Today the Memorial is a unit of the Minidoka National Historic Site, part of the National Parks Service.