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Santa Anita Reunion Set for April 15 at JANM

The late George “Horse” Yoshinaga in front of the plaque dedicated to the Santa Anita Assembly Center. This year’s reunion will be held at the Japanese American National Museum.

The Santa Anita Assembly Center Committee, in partnership with the Japanese American National Museum, will present a reunion and public remembrance of the opening of the Assembly Center 75 years ago, beginning a dark chapter in U.S. history when the government denied the civil rights of Japanese Americans.

On Saturday, April 15, surviving incarcerees, their families, and their descendants’ families will reunite at the Japanese American National Museum’s George and Sakaye Aratani Central Hall for a lunch and program that will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

On Feb. 19, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which paved the way for the incarceration of 120,000 individuals of Japanese ancestry. Before going to remote locations in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming, almost 19,000 individuals of Japanese ancestry, who had been living as far north as San Jose and as far south as San Diego, were first sent to Santa Anita Assembly Center.

There on the grounds and parking lots of Santa Anita Race Track, including in the actual horse stalls, families endured indescribable conditions for five months.

The event at JANM, which is open to the public, will bring back together many of those whose lives became forever entwined as a result of their shared experiences at Santa Anita between March 27 and Oct. 27, 1942.

Seating for the event is limited. Reservations will be honored on a first-come, first-served basis. The cost is $30 per person. To reserve, contact either of the following Santa Anita Assembly Center Committee members:

June Aochi Berk:, (818) 400-3273

Colleen Miyano:, (310) 908-7508

The Santa Anita Assembly Center Committee members are: June Berk, chair; Bill Shishima, vice chair; Hal Keimi, treasurer; Colleen Kunitomi Miyano, secretary; Bacon Sakatani, registrar; Kats Horiuchi, Tohru Isobe, Keiichi Ikeda, Babe Karasawa, Barbara Keimi, Kanji Sahara, Phil Shigekuni, Min Tonai, and Marge Wada.

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