Joy Kogawa House Society is now legal…. next step – restore the house
It has now been just been over two years since we launched the drive to save historic Joy Kogawa House from demolition. It was mid-September when a demolition permit inquiry was made, but by the end of the week, we had notified news media, and made announcements at the Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop Community Dinner, Vancouver Arts Awards and Word On The Street book and magazine fair.
It was an amazingly busy week for Joy, as she was feted by the One Book One Vancouver finale at Word On the Street, and received the community builder's award from the Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop. As well Vancouver Opera launched the premiere of “Naomi's Road” based on Joy's children's novel of the same name – a retelling of her famous novel Obasan.
Soon after in November, we held a special “Kogawa House Awareness
event” at the Vancouver Public Library where we presented the Vancouver
Opera Touring Ensemble's production of “Naomi's Road” in 2005. In December, the Land Conservancy of BC became our partner in the struggle to save the house, and to lead our fundraising efforts.
By May 2006, the house had been paid in full by The Land Conservancy of BC, and we breathed a collective sigh of relief. We celebrated in June when Joy received the Order of BC.
On Sep 15, 2006, we held the first public open house event. One of the first people through the door was a childhood friend of Joy and her brother Tim. “We didn't know where you had gone,” said Ralph Steeves. Tears were in everybody's eyes at witnessing this reunion of two friends, 63 years later.
Last month, Joy's brother, Rev. Timothy Nakayama, came to visit the house he had left at age 10 in 1942. Timothy shared his recollections of the house and yard, as we try to determine ways to restore the house to its 1942 character when their family was forced to leave the house, and board a train taking them to internment camps near Slocan BC.
We will hold the next public open house event on November 10th. Special guest speakers will be authors Ruth Ozeki and Shaena Lambert. The theme is War and Remembrance.
Historic Joy Kogawa House Society is now incorporated with the BC
Registry of Societies, which means we’re now a legal entity that can
carry forward the purposes of the society:
The purposes of the Society shall be:
operate and preserve the former Joy Kogawa family home at 1450 West
64th Avenue in Vancouver as a heritage and cultural centre and as a
site of healing and reconciliation.
establish in the former Joy Kogawa family home a centre for writers in
which they can reflect on issues of conscience and reconciliation and
write about their own personal experiences or the experiences of
others, past or present.
3. To promote and negotiate the raising of funds for the pursuit of the Society’s purposes.
encourage in the former Joy Kogawa family home educational programming
along themes of social justice and social history, and to provide
docent services for such programming.
5. To advocate on behalf of the continuing operation of the house in the public interest consistent with the above purposes.
For contacts in Vancouver
Call Ann-Marie Metten or Todd Wong