In 1942, the Tanforan racetrack of San Bruno, California became the Tanforan Assembly Center – a Japanese Internment camp that held nearly 8,000 internees. The camp converted existing horestalls into makeshift barracks for the thousands of Japanese Americans detained amid the fear of a post-Pearl Harbor World War II.
The Tanforan Assembly Center Memorial Committee recognized the need to honor this historic injustice and have been working with BART to develop both a commemorative photo exhibit and a physical memorial site. RHAA provided pro bono design efforts for the memorial to honor three retired partners who are of Japanese American descent and were interred during World War II — Asa Hanamoto (deceased), Kazuo Abey, and Harold Kobayashi.
The site features a re-creation of the barrack horesstalls with interpretive signage that provides insight to life as an internee. The names of all those interned are imprinted on the stall doors. Ten kwanzan cherry trees fill the plaza courtyard and are named for each of the ten Japanese internment camps across the United States. A sculpture of interned children by Sandra Shaw and inspired by the photos of Dorothea Lange marks the site entrance behind a large granite wall reading “Tanforan Assembly Center Plaza.”