Civil Rights

Remarks of Former Internee Arnold Maeda to the Venice Neighborhood Council

I was born in Santa Monica, in 1926 and have lived in Mar Vista since 1958. I am here this evening to voice my support for the MARKER project sponsored by various individuals and organizations of the Venice community. I feel that this is a worthy project, especially today, to highlight and educate the people about the historical event that took place at this intersection 68 years ago. We were ordered by Civilian Exclusion Orders to report for further instructions as to when and where to assemble for transportation to our unknown destination. Our pick up spot was on the northwest corner of Venice and Lincoln Boulevards.

The more we publicize information like this to the general public, the better chance we have of preventing a similar incident to occur again. On that unforgettable day in April of 1942, our destination turned out to be a mile-square patch of desert land that was fenced in by barbed wire and surrounded by eight guard towers — an American-style detention camp that eventually held over 10,000 men, women, and children. Our camp was named Manzanar War Relocation Center, and it was located between Lone Pine and Independence on the west side of Highway 395. I am not here to talk about Manzanar where I spent three and a half years of my teenage life.

I am here to encourage the Venice Neighborhood Council to pass a motion to write a letter to Councilman Bill Rosendahl in support of a memorial marker on the northwest corner of Venice and Lincoln.  I have such a personal connection to this corner, and I always point out this location to any of my passengers as we drive by.  I always have had a very visceral, emotional response to even thinking about my incarceration. But with discussion of this marker, my negative feelings have somehow dissipated, and have been replaced with feelings of hope.   b

Categories: Civil Rights, History

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