TANFORAN MEMORIAL PROJECT

The Foundation awarded a total of $200,000 in grant funding to the Tanforan Assembly Center Memorial Committee (TACMC) to support the construction of the Tanforan Memorial at the San Bruno BART station. The Board initially approved a $150,000 grant in June 2021 and increased the grant amount by $50,000, to $200,000, in April 2022.


During World War II, the U.S. Army converted what was then the Tanforan Racetrack – which sat on the site of what is now The Shops at Tanforan – into an assembly center at which Japanese Americans were incarcerated while more permanent internment camps were being built. For six months in 1942, the Tanforan Assembly Center held nearly 8,000 Bay Area Japanese Americans, most of whom were U.S. citizens, without a trial or due process of law. The incarcerees were housed in barracks, many of which were converted horse stalls that still smelled of manure.

With a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by more than 750 people, TACMC and the San Bruno community celebrated the opening of the Tanforan Memorial on Saturday, August 27, 2022. The memorial honors those who were incarcerated at Tanforan during World War II, acknowledges the injustices they endured, and seeks to ensure that this tragic episode in American history is neither forgotten nor repeated.

The memorial features a replica horse stall in which incarcerees were housed and a statue of the Mochida sisters, two young girls who were captured in a famous photograph taken by Dorothea Lange in 1942. Signs outside the horse stall list the names of the 8,000 former incarcerees.

"The San Bruno Community Foundation was established in the aftermath of the 2010 gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno’s Crestmoor neighborhood," said SBCF President Malissa Netane-Jones during the ceremony. "And so it is appropriate that we use a portion of the restitution funds from that tragedy to remember the tragedy and injustice that Japanese Americans suffered 80 years ago in San Bruno.”

Media coverage of the ribbon-cutting ceremony included the following:

On February 11, 2022, TACMC held a groundbreaking ceremony to launch the start of construction on the memorial. The groundbreaking ceremony received extensive local media coverage, including:

Read the press release announcing the Foundation's grant funding.

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