TANFORAN MEMORIAL PROJECT

The Board of Directors of the San Bruno Community Foundation has approved grant funding totaling $200,000 to the Tanforan Assembly Center Memorial Committee to be used for the construction of the Tanforan Memorial outside the San Bruno BART station.  The Board initially approved a $150,000 grant in 2021 and recently increased the grant amount by $50,000, to $200,000.

 

The Foundation has 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 interned 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 internees were housed in barracks, many of which were converted horse stalls that still smelled of manure.

 

The Foundation Board increased its grant for the Tanforan Memorial at its April 4, 2022, meeting to ensure that the project is completed in the summer of 2022 - the 80th anniversary year of the site serving as a detention center - especially because most surviving Tanforan internees are in their eighties and nineties. In approving the grant funding, the SBCF Board strongly noted that the Tanforan Assembly Center is an important part of San Bruno history that should not be forgotten, especially in light of the recent rash of violent acts against Asian and Pacific Islander Americans that have taken place in the Bay Area.

 

On February 11, 2022, TACMC held a groundbreaking ceremony to launch the start of construction on the memorial. Speakers included Representative Jackie Speier, Supervisor Dave Pine, and Mayor Rico Medina. SBCF Executive Director Leslie Hatamiya, Vice President Jim Ruane, and Treasurer Pak Lin (featured in the bottom right photo) represented SBCF at the ceremony. 

TACMC plans to hold a ribbon-cutting celebration for the Tanforan Memorial in June 2022, to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the opening of the Tanforan Assembly Center.

The groundbreaking ceremony received extensive local media coverage, including:

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

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