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A bridge to the past and a monument of hope moving forward dedicated in Bellingham

Generations after World War II camps, Bellingham monument honors immigrants

Carole Teshima of Bellingham and Pat Kawabata of Des Moines recall discrimination again Japanese Americans during World War II at the dedication of the Arch of Healing and Reconciliation in Bellingham, Washington on Saturday, April 21.
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Carole Teshima of Bellingham and Pat Kawabata of Des Moines recall discrimination again Japanese Americans during World War II at the dedication of the Arch of Healing and Reconciliation in Bellingham, Washington on Saturday, April 21.

The installation ceremony for the Arch of Healing and Reconciliation, a granite monument honoring the sacrifices and contributions of Whatcom County’s immigrants, was held Saturday morning at Bellingham City Hall.

Sabah Randhawa, president of Western Washington University, was the keynote speaker.

Rising 12 feet and weighing 10 tons, the arch acknowledges shameful periods in Bellingham and Whatcom County history, when the Chinese were pushed out in 1885, a mob came for East Indian mill workers in 1907, and Japanese-Americans were forced into internment camps in 1942.

It also honors those early pioneers from China, India and Japan — and all immigrants who have come to the Pacific Northwest since the 1800s to work and for a chance at new lives, community organizers behind the effort said.

They described the arch as a bridge to the past, a marker of what Whatcom County stands for today and a monument of hope moving forward.

The monument was installed at Lottie and North Commercial streets, next to the lawn behind the Bellingham Public Library and across from City Hall.

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Phyllis Kiehn of Bellingham claps as the Rhythm of India dancers entertain the crowd at the dedication ceremony for the Arch Of Healing and Reconciliation at Bellingham City Hall on Saturday in Bellingham. Paul Conrad For The Bellingham Herald

To contribute

Tax-deductible donations to the Arch of Healing and Reconciliation project can be made online at archofhealing.org. Or make checks payable to Whatcom Community Foundation and write Arch of Healing and Reconciliation Project in the memo line. Mail to the foundation at 1500 Cornwall Ave., Suite 202, Bellingham, WA 98225.

As the fiscal sponsor, Whatcom Community Foundation will accept and process donations for the project.

Kie Relyea: 360-715-2234, @kierelyea
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