Kogawa House: CHILDREN CALL FOR CITIZEN ACTION IN SAVING AUTHOR’S THREATENED HOME

 

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NEWS RELEASE
                

FOR IMMEDIATE
RELEASE:  February 23, 2006

 

CHILDREN
CALL FOR CITIZEN ACTION IN SAVING AUTHOR’S THREATENED
HOME

 

RICHMOND –
Grades 3 and 4 children of Richmond’s Tomsett Elementary School will join
principal Sabina Harpe and their teacher Joan Young in asking Vancouver Mayor
Sam Sullivan and members of the public for help to save author Joy Kogawa’s
childhood home. The children will present drawings of the Kogawa house and
letters of support to the Mayor during a visit at Vancouver City Hall on to be announced.

Prior to
their trip to city hall, the children visited Kogawa’s childhood home at
1450 West 64th
Avenue and toured it with the author. For months the
students have studied Kogawa’s children’s novel Naomi’s Road and they understand the story
of forgiveness in the face of
prejudice that Kogawa tells in her work. During the tour, the children
stood under the cherry tree or “friendship” tree that Kogawa spoke
of in Naomi’s Road. At city hall
they will also visit the “baby” cherry tree planted there on November 1,
2005.

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“I am
deeply moved that these young children, responding to a book and the opera
Naomi’s Road, have gathered
donations to save the house and the cherry tree in the backyard. I wish to thank
them and so many others for their action,” says Kogawa. “These children are the
future and it is important for them to understand our past to ensure it doesn’t
happen again.”

 

The
children at Tomsett Elementary
School represent many different ethnic groups yet
they all understand the forgiveness themes of Naomi’s Road. “One of the greatest joys to
date has been to hear that—after they have read Naomi’s Road and seen the opera—some
Chinese Canadian children told some Japanese Canadian children, ‘I don’t hate
you anymore’, ” says Kogawa. These are the lessons of healing that Kogawa hopes
the house will continue to teach as other school children tour the house once it
is saved.

Bill
Turner, Executive Director of TLC
The Land Conservancy of British Columbia, the non-profit land trust spearheading
the fundraising drive, will be on hand at Vancouver City
Hall to join the children in their appeal and to
thank them for their action.

Donations can be made to
TLC through their website at
www.conservancy.bc.ca or by calling (604)
733-2313. Donation forms can also be picked up at select bookstores throughout
Vancouver.

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Contacts:
Tomsett Elementary
School
: Sabina Harpe (604) 668-6448; TLC The Land
Conservancy:
Bill Turner (250) 213-1090; Heather Skydt (604) 733-2313;
Kogawa House Committee: Ann-Marie
Metten (604)
263-6586

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