Blogging Bayport Alameda

March 31, 2021

Airing the dirty laundry

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

Alameda Youth Activists have organized a Vigil for tonight which will start with a Zoom program and then there will be an opportunity to honor lost AAPI lives at Chochenyo Park.

The City of Alameda has the Zoom registration here.

I was privileged to get an advance peek at one of the slide shows for tonight’s Zoom program and a few things struck me. First was an anecdote about how the Knights of the Klu Klux Klan opposed the building of a private school for Japanese students in Alameda. Yes, the actual KKK felt comfortable enough in Alameda to send in some public comments:

Secondly, there was a map of the Japanese neighborhood in the 1940s in Alameda which detailed where Japanese businesses were before internment and the seizing of the property of these families (updated the map with Chochenyo’s new name):

What struck me immediately is that these businesses were the backbone of Alameda’s main commercial drag, Park Street. So essentially Park Street was built on the backs of these Japanese families whose livelihood were stolen because of anti-Asian fear and racism. But how many of us know this information and how many old Alameda families can trace their good fortune back to property theft?

But we don’t talk about that either.

If there were neighbors who acted as caretakers for the property of the Japanese Alamedan neighbors we haven’t learned about those because we’re so afraid of telling the “warts and all” stories of Alameda these stories are lost in time.

Which is why programs like bystander intervention training is important. Because we just saw video of a woman being savagely attacked in New York and the reaction of the building “security” guard was to close the door rather than help.

Until we address and resolve what has been done in the past, we’ll never be able to move forward because the root cause will never be tackled. There is something fundamentally broken right now but the fact that it’s finally being recognized that this is a problem is, at least, a step in the right direction.


  1. I have a friend whose grandfather owned one of the nurseries on the east end of town. She told me that when her mother and grandparents returned from the internment camp, the workers at the nursery had maintained the nursery for her grandfather and he was able to step back into the business upon his return. One sweet part of a sad story.

    Comment by Karen Manuel — March 31, 2021 @ 8:14 am

  2. Two hopes. I’m looking forward to the Library’s project, “The Impact of Japanese American Incarceration on Alameda, California—the First California Community Removed under Executive Order 9066,” coming to fruition. If that project, or another, used City Directories and/or Census information to see what happened to the particular properties people owned and rented, it would be interested.
    Second, Alameda also had a Chinatown. Imelda Merlin wrote, “Of all the ethnic groups in Alameda, the presence of the Chinese was the most completely documented in the daily papers because of the strong anti-Chinese sentiment during the last half of the last century.” I recall a number of articles in Alameda newspapers about “opium dens” amid all the state/national anti-Chinese sentiment 1882 through WWII. I’d be interested in learning more about Alameda’s Chinatown and wish there were sources from the perspectives of Chinese and Chinese American folks, not just other people projecting eastern Orientalism.

    Comment by RAsheed ☥ Shabazz (@Rasheed_Shabazz) — March 31, 2021 @ 10:05 am

  3. Regarding the incident you referenced:

    The African-American man who attacked the 65 year old Asian-American woman on her way to church was on parole for “killing his Mom” according to the NY Post.

    (It’s a shame )but because of legal/liability reasons, NYC Security guards by contract terms are not allowed to rush out and stop crimes only call the police.

    I watched another video from a NY subway attack a few days earlier where another AA beat up a 16 year old Asian-American in front of 10 people who did nothing. This ended with the criminal putting him in a chokehold.


    Comment by Really — March 31, 2021 @ 10:10 am

    • And the point you’re making from your parents’ basement is…?

      Comment by BC — March 31, 2021 @ 11:54 am

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