The Venice Japanese American Memorial Monument Committee has been coordinating the almost monthly maintenance of the solid black granite VJAMM obelisk since its dedication in April, 2017.  The VJAMM Committee thanks Girl Scout Troop 5325 and the Junior Young Buddhist Association, both sponsored by the Venice Hongwanji Buddhist Temple; and the Dolphins girls’ basketball team for polishing the VJAMM and sweeping up the sidewalk and curbside debris, more than once.  YouthBuild, a program of Venice Community Housing, however, has been regularly maintaining the Venice Japanese American Memorial Monument since August 2018, and has returned to the northwest corner of Venice and Lincoln Boulevards to polish the black granite VJAMM obelisk, so far for a total of eight times through July 2019.  They have already scheduled another maintenance for August 2019.

At the VJAMM Commemoration on April 18, 2019, Tijana Quilici of Venice Community Housing’s YouthBuild program thanked the VJAMM for their partnership with the community service component of YouthBuild.  YouthBuild offers diverse youth between 18 and 24 years of age choices in completing a high school diploma, job training and work experience in construction, and leadership development through community service projects.  Both VJAMM and YouthBuild, said Quilici, share a common “purpose in standing up against injustice and ensuring we know our painful histories as a means of preventing future injustice.”

Orlando Nava now serves as YouthBuild case manager, and has brought YouthBuild volunteers to the VJAMM for a history lesson and community service. The VJAMM Committee sincerely thanks not only the YouthBuild volunteers, but also expresses appreciation to the local restaurants who have donated lunches for the volunteers, including Baby Blues BBQ, The Great Western Steak and Hoagie Company, Rutt’s Café, Marie Callender’s, Feast from the East, Sakura Japanese Restaurant, James’ Beach, and Hama Sushi in Venice.

If you would like your youth organization to help maintain the VJAMM, or if your restaurant would like to donate lunch for about ten volunteers, please contact Phyllis Hayashibara at  For more information about the VJAMM, please visit or follow on Facebook.

Individuals that have helped work on the memorial include Cesar Garcia, Juan Cabrera, Robert Funes, Teresa Lucas, Orlando Nava, Carmen Lopez, Juan Cabrera, Cesar Garcia, Rafael Cruz, Robert Garcia, Azjalize Facey, Melody Vasquez, Kaylyn Vasquez, Jorge Gonzales and Anthunie Reynoso.

Submitted by Phyllis Hayashibara

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. Great to see this article. Wonderful work by the students and restaurants involved in keeping the memorial a source of pride.A special thanks to you, Phyllis.
    Jane Koehler

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.