JACSC is a collaborative and sustainable network comprised of organizations and individuals designed to build stakeholder organizations’ capacity to individually and collectively:
Preserve, protect, and interpret historic sites, artifacts, and experiences; and
Elevate the social justice lessons of the Japanese American WWII experience to highlight ways that civil and human rights abuses put at risk the rights of all Americans.
Minidoka Pilgrimage Planning Committee
Core organizations have pledged dollars and resources to launching and growing the JACSC. They include:
Friends of Minidoka
Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation
Japanese American Citizens League
Japanese American National Museum
National Japanese American Memorial Foundation
HISTORY of JACSC
The Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation, after collaborations with several other organizations, begins seeking support and funding for a Consortium of sites related to the Japanese American experience. Many organizations in the field recognized a need for many years to better network and collaborate among themselves to grow capacity. The HMWF earned funding from the National Park Service's Japanese American Confinement Sites grant program to jumpstart the organization of a consortium, titled the Japanese American Confinement Sites Consortium (JACSC). The Consortium first met at Heart Mountain Interpretive Center in July 2015.
The Consortium met again in Washington DC to build consensus on activity, establish major stakeholders, conduct East Coast outreach, and set priorities and goals. This meeting established the framework and mission for the group, while also expanding its participants.
The Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation (HMWF) applied for and received a second National Park Service Grant to continue the Consortium. Brian Liesinger, former Executive Director of HMWF, who had written both JACS grant to support the Consortium, was hired as the Coordinator for the Consortium project.
Two significant planning and business meetings were held in February and October 2018. The group planned more strategic outreach and communication, as well as refining advocacy goals and overall mission. Continued outreach to new organizations allowed the JACSC to grow its base. In February, the Consortium’s major stakeholders signed a memorandum of understanding to establish an administrative council. The council agreed to serve as the guidance body for the JACSC going forward. Through the MOU, the council pledges ongoing guidance, funds, and in-kind resources.
Advisory council members established at that time included the Friends of Minidoka, Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation, Japanese American National Museum, the Japanese American Citizens League. The National Japanese American Memorial Foundation would join the advisory councils in October of 2018.
In March of 2018, the President’s proposed budget defunded the JACS grant program. In response, the Consortium launched a grassroots advocacy campaign to encourage legislators to protect the program. The effort paid off and the program was restored.
The JACSC convened in Washington DC to refine a business plan and create a dues model for sustainability. In addition, stakeholders spent significant time on Capitol Hill educating Congress about the formation of JACSC and its mission and advocating for the continuation of the JACS grant program.
JACSC has also partnered with the JACL to provide workshops at the 90th annual JACL National Convention in Salt Lake City, July 31–Aug. 4.. The theme is “Advocacy, Inclusion, Action,” topics that JACSC stakeholders feel are of crucial importance.
"What do we do with all the stories of those of us of Japanese ancestry and the things we experienced during one of the most traumatic periods of our nation’s history?
Those are Japanese American stories to be sure, but by definition, it means they are American stories as well.
As proud members of the American family, we have a standard of honor to live up to. It is now, it will always be our job to make sure the lessons of the past are not forgotten. We are not mired in the past; we are invested in the future."
—Secretary Norman Mineta
By Tom Parker, Photographer, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.