Japanese American Confinement Education Act
STATEMENT OF JOY BEASLEY, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, CULTURAL RESOURCES, PARTNERSHIPS, AND SCIENCE, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, FOR THE HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, FORESTS, AND PUBLIC LANDS, CONCERNING H.R. 1931, A BILL TO PROVIDE COMPETITIVE GRANTS FOR THE PROMOTION OF JAPANESE AMERICAN CONFINEMENT EDUCATION AS A MEANS TO UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES, USE AND ABUSE OF POWER, AND TO RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF CULTURAL TOLERANCE TOWARD JAPANESE AMERICANS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
MAY 27, 2021
Chairman Neguse, Ranking Member Fulcher, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to provide the Department of the Interior’s views on H.R. 1931, a bill to provide competitive grants for the promotion of Japanese American confinement education as a means to understand the importance of democratic principles, use and abuse of power, and to raise awareness about the importance of cultural tolerance toward Japanese Americans, and for other purposes.
The Department supports the goals of H.R. 1931 to better educate the public about the treatment of Japanese Americans during World War II and to preserve historic resources associated with that difficult chapter of our nation’s history. The Department supports renewing the authorization of appropriations for the Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) grant program, as H.R. 1931 would do. This would continue the authorization of funding for a program whose mission is to teach future generations about the injustices of the World War II confinement of Japanese Americans and to inspire a commitment to equal justice under the law.
Section 4 of H.R. 1931 would authorize $38 million for the JACS grant program beginning in FY 2021, and for each fiscal year thereafter, allowing funding for the program to continue after the current authorization limit is reached. The JACS grant program, authorized in 2006 by Public Law 109-441, provides matching grants to entities dedicated to preserving and interpreting the history of Japanese Americans who were incarcerated by the U.S. government during World War II. The National Park Service awards grants to successful project proposals based on a competitive process, and applicants must match the grant award with $1 in nonfederal funds or in-kind contributions for every $2 they receive in Federal funds. The law authorized appropriations of a total of $38 million. Since 2009, the program has awarded more than $36 million in grants to various entities for preservation, restoration and education projects that help tell the story of the more than 120,000 Japanese Americans incarcerated by the U.S. government during World War II . Recipients of grants include a variety of organizations and institutions, including Japanese American museums as well as nonprofit organizations working in partnership with Japanese American museums. The JACS grant program typically receives requests for funding totaling more than $5 million each year; annual appropriations typically fund just over $3 million worth of grants.
Section 3 of H.R. 1931 would establish a new program separate from the JACS grant program to award a $2 million competitive grant to a Japanese American museum for each of the next five fiscal years (FY 2022 to FY 2026). The grants issued under this program would not require matching funds. Several specific requirements for a museum’s eligibility for the grant program are included in the bill. Grants would be used for research and education relating to Japanese American confinement during World War II, and for the disbursement of accurate, relevant, and accessible resources to promote understanding about how and why the Japanese American incarceration happened.
It is likely that purposes of the program in Section 3 could be served by the existing JACS grant program, with funding to be matched by the recipient. If the Committee moves forward on this bill, we would appreciate having the opportunity to work with the bill sponsor and the Committee on language that would address coordinating the new grant program established under section 3 with the existing JACS grant program and clarifying the authorization amount.
Chairman Neguse, this concludes my statement. I would be pleased to answer any questions you or other members of the Subcommittee may have.