Hawaii’s congressional delegation issued a press release Wednesday celebrating the state Department of Interior’s decision to award nearly $3 million in grants to preserve Japanese American internment camps.

The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii will receive more than $250,000 to produce a film series on the internment camps and assemble an archaeological record of the sites.

The Friends of Waipahu Cultural Garden Park will receive $112,000 to create an exhibit and restore the Honouliuli camp, which was recently named a national monument.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell hugs a volunteer before Honouliuli Monument dedication ceremony.  31 march 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell hugs a volunteer before Honouliuli Monument dedication ceremony March 31.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Here’s what Hawaii political leaders had to say about the news:

“For decades, the Hawaii delegation and Japanese American community have fought to preserve internment sites as memorials to acknowledge this dark chapter in our nation’s history,” said Sen. Mazie Hirono. “These grants are the next step in restoring and protecting the Honouliuli National Monument as well as documenting and telling these stories to our current and future generations. We must preserve these sites and stories of Japanese Americans as reminders of the importance of upholding civil rights even during our nation’s most trying times.”

“With Honouliuli’s national monument designation, we can now continue the important work of preserving the site and the dark period in our history it represents,” said Sen. Brian Schatz. “These grants will fund programs that will help share the countless stories of so many who were unjustly interned and help remind us all of the constant need to protect the freedoms and rights of every American.”

“The history of World War II and the Japanese-Americans who were forced into internment camps is a tragic chapter in our nation’s past,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “It is important that we honor and remember those Japanese-Americans who were unnecessarily detained during World War II. These funds will help to honor their memory and share their story, shedding light on a dark moment in American history. We must learn from this injustice, and ensure that future generations never allow such travesties to occur again.”

“The incarceration of Japanese American citizens during World War II is a blemish on this nation’s history,” said Rep. Mark Takai. “However, even to this day, many people remain unaware about this terrible depravation of basic rights granted by the Constitution of the United States. The funds being allocated to the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii and to the Friends of Waipahu Cultural Garden Park will provide an opportunity to preserve and share this important piece of Hawaii’s history by telling of the story of all those who were wrongfully imprisoned. Through raising awareness on this issue, we can prevent a travesty like this from occurring in the future.”

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