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Sato School in Bethany

Sato Elementary School opened in September 2017. The Bethany community was asked to submit names for the new Beaverton school and the overwhelming choice was to recognize the Japanese American family who began farming in the area in 1926.

Sato School Memorial
Marleen Wallingford, Karen Sato and Ron Iwasaki at the Sato School dedication of the history of the Sato Family placed at the front of the school.

During World War II, the Sato Family was sent to Minidoka. Two sons, Shin and Roy, enlisted. Roy was wounded twice and received the Purple Heart. Shin was also a member of the Japanese American 442 Regimental Combat Team that took part in the heroic battle to save the Texas Battalion that was trapped in the treacherous Vosges Mountains. Nisei soldiers were able to overcome the German defenses. Shin posthumously received the Purple Heart as a result of that battle.

Karen Sato continues to remember her family. Her sister, Lois who passed away in 2013 was the last family member to live on the farm.

When Col. Mike Howard who lives in the area heard the story of the Sato Family, he wanted to make sure the community understood the historical significance of the heroism of Shin and the sacrifice the family suffered. He worked with the school’s principal, Annie Pleau to obtain Beaverton School District’s permission to place the plaque.

I was saddened when I first visited Sato School and there was no memorial. History is a fragile thing and I wanted the kids to know the truth … good and bad, so they can learn from it.

Col. Howard

It was a labor of love for Col. Howard. He grew up living next to the Shimotani Family in Ventura, California. This is where he first heard of the 442 and saw the film, “Go For Broke”. “I was saddened when I first visited Sato School and there was no memorial. History is a fragile thing and I wanted the kids to know the truth … good and bad, so they can learn from it.”

The bronze plaque was produced at a costof $6200. Skanska Construction donated the concrete base and backing at a value of$6200. Bethany Presbyterian Church had donated $3000 but funding still needs to be raised to cover the rest of the cost. The Portland JACL is helping with that effort.

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Black Lives Matter

Board Member Message
by Sachi Kaneko

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

This is a call to action. In an article for the Washington Post, Dr. Obasogie recently characterized the death of George Floyd as the spread of the “police violence pandemic.”  This combined with the effects of the novel Coronavirus are two massive problems within our country that disproportionately affect Black people.  

Black men in America are 3.5 times more likely to be killed by law enforcement than their White counterparts (Obasogie, 2020).  Available data about the Coronavirus show that counties that are primarily Black have “three times the rate of infections and almost six times the rate of deaths as counties where white residents are the majority” (Thebault, Tran, and Williams, 2020).  This is the current climate of being Black in America- it is not chance or happenstance or a series of isolated incidents, it’s systemic.

Systemic racism is a pivotal piece to the founding of our country. Our economy was built on the cheap or free labor of non Whites- a system that continues to persist today. The implicit biases that were fostered by that system to enforce racial hierarchies are long standing and deep.

“The very serious function of racism… is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and so you spend 20 years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is….” -Toni Morrison, Writer and Speaker

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The Wishes of Small Children

Ft-Sill-IntCamp_Sachi Kaneko