In the first half of 2018 Friends of Minidoka (FoM) have continued to work at our mission of preserving the Minidoka site and its legacy, and educating the public on this history. One of the ways we can accomplish this in the long term is to affirm our partnership with the National Park Service both locally and nationally, which we accomplished most recently through an intensive Partnership Workshop we conducted with the NPS staff together with the FoM board, in which we both looked towards the future of Minidoka and what we can accomplish individually and as partners.
On a larger scale, we continue to be active members of the National Park Foundation Friends Alliance by attending their spring conference in Washington DC, which also affords us the opportunity to visit our Congressional delegates. is March, we visited the offices for Senators Crapo and Risch and advocated for continued funding of the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program, which was zeroed from the President’s budget. As of June, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the Interior and Environment funding bill for FY19, and Senator Schatz was able to secure level funding for the JACS program ($2.905 million) for FY19. Thank you to all of you who answered our call to action to encourage your representatives to support this grant program! We are also happy to announce we were selected as a pilot recipient of a National Park Foundation Friends Alliance grant program, in order to build organizational capacity and enhance our communications and outreach strategies.
We continue to support the Minidoka site and incarceration history through site tours, educational outreach to groups that approach us, and participate as pilgrims ourselves at Minidoka and other sites when possible. In 2018 Friends of Minidoka board members and staff will have participated in pilgrimages to Rohwer, Jerome, Amache, Tule Lake, Minidoka, and Heart Mountain. We continue to build upon our relationship with other Japanese American Confinement Sites Consortium members, and look forward to a productive fall meeting to further establish this organization as a leading network of Japanese American preservation and advocacy groups this October in Los Angeles. We are also utilizing JACS grants to create an Issei Legacy exhibit for the Minidoka Visitor Center, and to work with Densho to digitize Friends of Minidoka photo collections and make them publicly accessible to students, researchers, exhibits, films, and other educational projects.
This year we also commemorate the 30th anniversary of the 1988 Civil Liberties Act, and reflect on the strides that generations of community leaders have made to galvanize a dispersed population in the fight for Redress, press the government when they wronged an entire group of Americans, and continue to fight to keep this history alive and in the public conscience as it becomes alarmingly relevant and necessary in current politics. Thank you all for continuing to stand up for what is right, and for supporting us in our work to do the same.
Lastly, we hope that you will join us for our Fall Friendraiser on October 17 at the Twin Falls Center for the Arts in Twin Falls, Idaho!