STOP THE TULE LAKE FENCE 2024 – Deadline April 1

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Tule Lake Stockade and Jail (above) CalTrans photo by Don Tateishi

The Tule Lake Committee needs your help to stop the FAA’s and Modoc County’s decade-long effort, resumed this year, to build a massive three-mile long, eight-foot high fence on the Tulelake airfield that occupies two-thirds of the Tule Lake concentration camp in Northern California where Japanese Americans were incarcerated during WWII.

Once again, as the Japanese American community did in the past decade, we must speak out and tell the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that building an airfield fence on the Tule Lake concentration camp site would desecrate an irreplaceable part of American history.

In 2012, the Tule Lake Committee launched a campaign to Stop the Tulelake Airfield Fence. In subsequent years, over 50,000 voices opposed construction of a fence on the Tule Lake concentration camp site.

Despite unanimous outcry against desecrating this sacred site, in 2024 the FAA and Modoc County resumed planning a security fence to protect the cropdusting airfield located in the middle of the Tule Lake concentration camp. The airfield is a relic of Jim Crow-racism, a perverse reminder of an era when blatant racial and ethnic bias and historical erasure was the norm.

We must remind the FAA what should be obvious, that an airfield can be moved, but that it is impossible to move a sacred, historic place where 27,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated and where 331 men, women and children died — of disease, inadequate medical care, harsh living conditions and despair.

How can the FAA mitigate harm and negative impacts to an irreplaceable National-Register eligible site, a Traditional Cultural Property, and a Japanese American WWII incarceration site that President Biden promised to protect? The only reasonable alternative is moving the Tulelake airfield from the concentration camp site to another, less sensitive location in the vast and underpopulated Modoc County.

Please take a few moments to share your thoughts with the FAA and Modoc County. Send an e-mail to let them know an airfield on the concentration camp site is incompatible and inappropriate. Remind them of President Biden’s 2022 Proclamation:

“Preserving incarceration sites as national parks and historic landmarks is proof of our Nation’s commitment to facing the wrongs of our past, to healing the pain still felt by survivors and their descendants, and to ensuring that we always remember why it matters that we never stop fighting for equality and justice for all.”

Urge the FAA to conduct a feasibility study to examine moving the Tulelake airfield from the concentration camp site, the only mitigating measure that truly protects the Tule Lake concentration camp site for future generations.

Help us persist in efforts to stop FAA and Modoc County from destroying a precious American civil rights site.

The FAA’s deadline for your views is April 1, 2024 (not a joke!).

Send your messages to:

Mitch Crosby, Modoc County Road Department
202 W 4th Street
Alturas, CA 96101

E-mail: nhpatulelakeairport@co.modoc.ca.us

Please share a copy with us too: savetulelake@gmail.com

Thank you!
Tule Lake Committee Board of Directors
Hiroshi Shimizu
Barbara Takei
Ken Nomiyama
Harriet Fukushima
Satsuki Ina
Tamiko Nimura
Stan Shikuma

The views expressed in the preceding commentary are not necessarily those of the Nichi Bei News.

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