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Barbara Watanabe


Formerly Go For Broke Educational Foundation and
100th/442nd/MIS WWII Memorial Foundation Veterans Dream is to Build Center Next to Go For Broke Monument

(Torrance, Calif. May 11, 2006) The Go For Broke National Education Center announced today, with Los Angeles Councilmember Jan Perry (CD-9), at a press conference that it has secured a 50-year ground lease with the City of Los Angeles. The lease provides Go For Broke with 37,405 square-feet of land fronted on Temple Street and adjacent to the Go For Broke Monument, which will be the future site of its national headquarters and public Education Center. This parcel is valued at $3.7 million. At the same time, Go For Broke announced it has received a $1 million grant through the California Cultural and Historical Endowment (CCHE) to cover preliminary construction costs.

"In 1989 the veterans had a dream to build a monument, that dream was realized in 1999 when the Go For Broke Monument was unveiled to the public," said Christine Sato-Yamazaki, executive director and president, Go For Broke National Education Center. "Today they have another dream, to have a Center adjacent to their Monument that will ensure their American story lives on and can contribute to the great American ideals of freedom and equal opportunity for all. Go For Broke is very thankful to Councilmember Jan Perry and the California Cultural Historical Endowment for it is their support that has made the veterans one step closer to having their dream become a reality."

Terms of the lease give Go For Broke three years, or by 2009, to fundraise the necessary funds to build the Center. The organization plans to raise the $15 million needed to build the Center before that time in hopes that many of the Japanese American WWII veterans will see their dream realized. Go For Broke anticipates breaking ground and opening the building to the public in 2010.

Architect Michael Maltzan made public preliminary designs for the Center, which will be a 14,999-square-feet, two-story building. The architectural design provides the optimal usage of space for all its programming and administrative needs, and externally complements the Go For Broke Monument and surroundings. To accommodate parking for staff and volunteers, parking with 55 spaces will be built below grade.

Through the Center, the public will explore the Japanese American WWII veteran's story, as an example to educate future generations about the importance of civil liberties and racial tolerance. The Center will offer a technology-focused, interactive exhibition utilizing Go For Broke's oral history archive, which is the largest of its kind nationwide, and provide resources to the public to conduct oral history, offer research assistance, and teach this story nationwide. Moreover, the Center will be the future headquarters of the organization, which is now located in Torrance, California with the Go For Broke Monument and Resource Center located in Little Tokyo.

In addition to announcing its future plans and seed funding, the organization's new name, Go For Broke National Education Center, was also unveiled. Previously the organization's legal name was the 100th/442nd/MIS WWII Memorial Foundation and operated as the Go For Broke Educational Foundation. The new name reflects the current and future of the organization and its goals to be the leading nationally focused organization committed to preserving and teaching the veteran story.

The Go For Broke National Education Center teaches and preserves the history and legacy of American veterans of Japanese ancestry whose heroism and sacrifices during World War II triumphed over racism and intolerance. This American story focuses on the veteran's core values of honor, duty, patriotism, loyalty, and includes the forced evacuation and incarceration of Japanese Americans and civil liberties issues raised. Currently Go For Broke's programs include An American Story Teacher Training Program, Hanashi Oral History Program, educational website, and Resource Center at its Little Tokyo office.

In 1989 Japanese American World War II veterans established the 100th/442nd/MIS WWII Memorial Foundation, now the Go For Broke National Education Center, to build the Go For Broke Monument. Today it is an eternal tribute to the heroics of the segregated Japanese American units: 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Military Intelligence Service (MIS), and the many other men and women who served overseas during World War II. The Monument is located in the Little Tokyo district of downtown Los Angeles at Temple and Alameda Streets.