New Tonarigumi: Alameda Historic Japantown Markers
First picture at the Alameda Buddhist Temple; second picture at the Alameda Marketplace.
These historical markers and plaques are dedicated to the Japanese, and Japanese-American, residents of the City of Alameda, who endured dispossession, displacement, and internment, during World War 2…. Only after enduring the intense racism and discrimination of White Alameda for decades before.
Note: I cannot share the images, or words used in Historic Alameda Newspapers to show you how strong White Alameda’s racist and hateful vitriol of Japanese (and Chinese) immigrants was; because these images and words are so offending as to be considered harmful material still to this day.
But it’s fair to say that non-white immigrants were never welcomed here, in the City of Alameda–nor were these immigrants ever allowed peace, quiet enjoyment, or credit for the awesome contributions they made to the development and advancement of the City we see today.
We can never forget the injustices the American government has imposed upon every single non-white group of people to ever exist within this country.
While white people love to point out that a very small group of them came forward to protect Japanese land and property from seizure and destruction, it’s the majority of white Americans who wholeheartedly supported the separation and internment of Japanese and Japanese-American people.
So, when we start having a real conversation about land back and honoring the Ohlone people of this place, I want you to include all Ohlone people and not just Sogorea Te Land Trust, and Corrina Gould—organizations which demonstrably only account for a very small fraction of the total Ohlone population living today.
It’s a shame that the Alameda Museum had no part in this project, at all.
But I want to congratulate the City of Alameda, and Downtown Alameda Business Association, for actually including the voices, perspectives, and participation of the the Japanese-Americans who were actually affected by these racists policies and laws.
As we continue forward in healing from the injustices and injuries of America’s racist past, the participation of those people who were actually affected by these shameful periods should be critical, tantamount, and–indeed–inextricable from the memorials, contrition, and reparations still to come.