Reduced bus service to ‘accelerate destruction’ of San Francisco’s Japantown

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Editor’s Note: According to the San Francisco Unified School District, it has reduced its bus service for the 2012-13 school year, due to ongoing state budget cuts. For more information, visit www.sfusd.edu/en/transportation/transportation-changes.html or call (415) 695-5505.

The combined effect of the elimination of SFUSD school bus routes to the Nihonmachi Little Friends stop is the accelerated destruction of one of this nation’s last three remaining Japantowns in America.

What has kept many families connected to Japantown over the last few decades since redevelopment in the ‘70s, is the fact that there is a large preschool and afterschool program that attracts families to the community, and keeps them connected to the culture, social services and institutions.

Many youth have “grown up” in Japantown because they are connected to the community through the youth programs; it is what brings families back to Japantown to shop, socialize, recreate, and worship there regularly and throughout the generations.

This connection to the community will be lost with this generation and will represent the third disbursement of this community (first being the war relocation, the second redevelopment, and because of limited housing available and mostly social connections and activities bringing people together, this is will be the final straw). I am very sorry that it is our public education institution that will be part of destroying a precious living legacy that this country has.

For more information, please read my petition to “Help Keep SF Japantown Alive!” online at www.change.org/petitions/
help-keep-sf-japantown-alive.

Linda Asato is the mother of a Rooftop school elementary student who is currently attending Nihonmachi Little Friends’ After School Program, and is involved in taiko, karate and Japanese language school in Japantown. The views expressed in the preceding commentary are not necessarily those of the Nichi Bei Weekly.

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