Japanese American League Calls For Action To Preserve Historical Settlement
Tomorrow, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will be holding a hearing on S. 1596, the Gold-Hill Wakamatsu Preservation Act. This legislation would help preserve the location of the first Japanese settlement in the United States, and perpetuate the legacy of Japanese Americans and their many contributions to our nation.
The History Behind the Gold Hill-Wakamatsu Colony
After fleeing the chaos of the Meiji Restoration, 22 Japanese colonists settled at the Gold Hill Ranch near Coloma, California. In 1869, workers at the Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Farm Colony began growing traditional Japanese crops, while sharing agricultural techniques with other farmers in the community. Drought and financial hardships forced the colony to cease operations just two years later, but it was still a historic milestone that brought together Japanese and American cultures, and established California as the gateway for Pacific immigration into the U.S. The site has also recently become recognized at level of national significance by the National Register of Historic Places.
The bill's passage is URGENT since the Veerkamp family - who bought the property in 1875 and has helped maintain it over the years - wants to sell the land. The Veerkamps, JACL, American River Conservatory, and California Rice Commission believe federal acquisition would help guarantee that the site's cultural history will be preserved for generations to come.
Who Should I Write To?
Here is a list of Senators who sit on Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)
What should I write?
You can copy and paste the text below and write a letter or send a fax to the target senators. Personalizing the letter makes it more effective:
Dear Senator ________:
My name is ________ from City/State/Zip Code. I am writing to ask you to support the Gold Hill-Wakamatsu Preservation Act, S. 1596.
The Gold-Hill Wakamatsu Preservation Act is an important bill that will preserve the history and legacy of Japanese Americans and their contributions to the United States. It will authorize the Bureau of Land Management to acquire the Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Farm Colony near Gold Hill, California. Believed to be the first Japanese settlement in North America, it is crucial we protect its history.
I hope that you recognize the significance of this bill, and ask that you co-sponsor and actively support this legislation. Thank you for your time and considerations.