March 21, 2022

Over the past fifteen years, the Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) federal grant program has funded 268 projects increasing public knowledge about Japanese American WWII incarceration. But that funding is set to expire in 2022. A new bill before Congress aims to reauthorize the JACS program — and you can help it pass. 

Read on for more information, or head over to the Japanese American Citizens League site to take action now

The Japanese American Confinement Sites grant program was approved by Congress in 2006 to preserve and interpret the sites where Japanese Americans were incarcerated during WWII. It set aside a total of $38 million in federal funding, administered by the National Park Service, to support the preservation and interpretation of the sites where Japanese Americans were incarcerated during WWII. These grants have supported a variety of projects, from museum exhibits, to historic preservation at former WWII incarceration sites, to documentaries and oral history projects. JACS program funding has also allowed Densho to build and expand our digital archives, online encyclopedia, and teacher training resources.

The Japanese American Confinement Education (JACE) Act was introduced into the House of Representatives by Congresswoman Doris Matsui, a co-author of the original JACS legislation. It would authorize an additional $42 million to continue the current grant program, including a $10 million fund for educational programs that will share Japanese Americans’ experiences during WWII. 

The JACE Act was put to a floor vote in the House of Representatives on March 15, 2022, and passed with support of both majority and minority members of the committee. It will now move to the Senate floor for a vote, and we need a show of community support to make sure it passes there too. 

Grassroots advocacy was key to the passage of the original JACS legislation in 2006, and it will be instrumental in making sure that Congress reauthorizes this vital funding today. The lessons of Japanese American WWII incarceration remain as relevant as ever, and as we lose more of our elders who carry firsthand memories of this dark history, it becomes increasingly important to preserve their stories and pass them down to future generations. 

We urge our community to write the Senate and tell them to pass the JACE Act. Use this email template from the Japanese American Citizens League to find your senator and submit public comments.