December 15, 2015

Last week, the state of Washington announced the opening of a competitive grant cycle under the restored and renamed Kip Tokuda Memorial Washington Civil Liberties Public Education Program. This is great news if you support the continuing development of projects that educate the public about the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans and its lessons for the present.

As outlined in the Densho Encyclopedia article by Alexandra L. Wood, the Washington Civil Liberties Public Education Program came into being in 2000 and over the next nine years, funded thirty-five educational projects having to do with the incarceration, most aimed at K–12 classrooms. The legislation was modeled in similar legislation in the state of California. The Washington state legislature cut funding for the program in 2009 due budgetary shortfalls. In 2014, the program was named after the late state representative Kip Tokuda, who was a key figure in instigating it. These programs—along with similar federal programs—have helped fund the many films, curricula, books, museum exhibitions, and other projects on the incarceration story that we have seen over the last fifteen or so years, including a number by Densho.

I hope the renewed program in Washington will inspire similar action in California, where the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program ran from 1998 to 2011, on in Hawai’i, where there have been discussions but no program thus far.

If you are interested in the details of the Washington program or in applying for a grant, see the request for applications.

By Brian Niiya, Densho Content Director

[Photo credit: Uyeda Groves Family Collection. Rainier Elementary School class, Seattle, 1939.]