By Julie Abo, originally published in the Rafu Shimpo, Oct. 29, 2018.

On Oct. 20-21, the Japanese American Confinement Sites Consortium (JACSC) held its fourth meeting of museums, historic sites, volunteer groups, and advocacy organizations from across the nation whose focus is the Japanese American incarceration experience.

JACSC is devoted to collectively preserving, protecting, and interpreting the World War II experiences of Japanese Americans and highlighting related social justice lessons that inform current issues. The Japanese American National Museum hosted the two-day event.

The consortium has been in existence since the first meeting in 2015 and has been working on identifying goals that include advocating for the Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) grants program, a federal program that has helped fund nearly 200 projects nationwide that have brought greater scholarship and public awareness of the Japanese American experience. In addition, the consortium protects historic sites, facilitates collaboration and resource-sharing among stakeholder organizations, and assists in growing the capacity of all members.

“Collaboration is key,” JANM President and CEO Ann Burroughs proclaimed as she welcomed participants on the first day. She observed that in the past, many of the organizations had been operating independently and in a silo-like fashion and that, moving forward, it was good to see the consortium as a collective effort to work collaboratively.

Consortium Coordinator Brian Liesinger noted that the consortium has created a community where members could connect and support one another more easily despite the often great geographic distances between them and the challenges they may face.

More than 50 participants attended the meeting, from 18 different organizations, including: Nine of the 10 War Relocation Authority confinement sites, JANM, the National Park Service, the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, the Tuna Canyon Detention Station Coalition, Densho, the Oregon Nikkei Endowment, the Japanese American Service Committee (Chicago), the Japanese American Citizens League, the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation (Washington, D.C.), the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula (Montana), 50 Objects/Stories of the American Japanese Incarceration, the American Baptist Historical Society, and the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation (Wyoming). The 10th WRA confinement site would have attended, but was unable due to an unforeseen event.

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