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Historic Oxnard Japanese Cemetery

$21,135 of $27,000 goal

Raised by 194 people in 15 months
Created June 29, 2017
Oxnard Historic Japanese Cemetery
In 1885, the Hueneme Masonic Lodge established a cemetery in the area of Pleasant Valley Road and Etting Road in Oxnard. The cemetery was used for about 20 years until Ivy Lawn Cemetery in the city of Ventura opened. In 1908, the Masonic Lodge decided to create a segregated cemetery on the triangular piece of property down the road from their cemetery. They had two non-white people buried on the Masonic side, a Japanese and a Chinese individual, while  Ivy Lawn Cemetery was whites only at that time.

At least 129 Japanese, many of the single male farmworkers are buried here. Many infants and toddlers are buried here also. There is a total of around 200 people buried here, with a few who have been removed by families. There is no caretaker on the property and it has been unsecured for many years. On June 19, 2017 the historic Japanese cemetery was vandalized, with many grave markers pulled out or toppled.


Our chapter hopes to change this in light of the recent vandalism and desecration of the historic cemetery. Though most of our members do not have family members buried here, we are passionate about the restoration in spite of this setback. It is part of our tradition to honor the dead. We want to right the situation to honor the Japanese pioneers of Ventura County.

Fundraising Goal
Restore the Dignity of the Japanese decedents of Ventura County
The ultimate goal of our chapter is to raise $27,000 to replace the chain link fence with wrought iron fencing to match what the city of Oxnard had done on two sides. Our chapter would also like to purchase head stones that would replicate and match to previous photos what was used from the 1900’s through 1960’s. Any additional funds will be set aside for the continued maintenance of the cemetery.

Basic Repair and Recovery
We would like to initially raise $12,000 to replace the markers, making them more permanent than what is currently on site. Right now, the wooden markers are simply placed in the ground (sandy soil) and with time, have eroded or sunk and now, about 20 markers were knocked down by a man on June 19, 2017. It will also be used to replace the broken chain link fence with another chain link fence so the cemetery is more secure from trespassers. We would like to replace all 60 wooden markers.

When the work is completed, we will invite all those who participated in the restoration to a rededication of the cemetery. This would honor the memory of the Japanese pioneers in Ventura County who overcame difficult hardships to live and die in the area, thus paving the way for future residents of color to live and work comfortably in Ventura County. The dedication would involve local church leaders to bless the ground and to give thanks for the work of those who helped recreate and restore the cemetery.

Ventura County JACL is a 501c(3) non-profit organization. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation directly to the organization, please email venturacountyjacl@hotmail.com.


*Top photo courtesy of Anthony Plascencia, Ventura County Star Newspaper. For more information please see the coverage in the Ventura County Star.

Follow up coverage by the Ventura County Star Newspaper on July 4, 2017 can be found here .
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May 29, 2018
It was almost one year ago when a trespasser, desecrated many grave markers and tomb stones at the historic Japanese cemetery in Oxnard. Our organization, Ventura County JACL (Japanese American Citizens League) has been the caretaker of this cemetery for about 30 years. Word got out quickly about this desecration through the Ventura County Star, the first newspaper to pick up the story; it was followed by KCLU, Rafu Shimpo and a small segment on the Eyewitness News ABC 7. Many of you reached out to us wanting to help and that is how this site was started.

We decided to retain a land use attorney to investigate the ownership of the cemetery property. Our attorney is also advising us on how to interact with the current owner and next door neighbor. The cemetery borders on an undeveloped piece of land that will be turned into 42 units for low income farmers. It is owned by Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation.

We recently had our annual cleanup and many volunteers came out to help. We also installed a temporary chain link fence to discourage future vandalism. We also put a combination type lock on the gate. Again, this is to discourage trespassers. We are now in the process of making a prototype grave marker to replace the 60 wooden grave markers. Because of your generosity, we are able to make a more permanent marker.

Please contact us at venturacountyjacl@gmail.com if you have any questions or concerns about the restoration of the historic Japanese cemetery. Thank you so much for your support in this project!
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BIG NEWS! Just last week we received two anonymous donations, one for $6000 and one for $1000! These are our biggest donations yet! We're now less than $10,000 away from our fundraising goal! Thank you to these anonymous donors and all those who have contributed to our cause. Please continue to spread the word about our fundraiser!
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I'm here at the JACL National Convention as a delegate to the National Council representing Ventura County. If you're also at the National Convention and have questions about our fundraising campaign, please come find me sitting with PSW!
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Wow! We've hit over 100 donations, thank you all for your incredible support and dedication to our cause. Please continue to share this far and wide so we can reach our goal!

If you know folks who would like to donate but don't want to do it through gofundme, please email venturacountyjacl@hotmail.com to make arrangements to donate in a non-online format.
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$21,135 of $27,000 goal

Raised by 194 people in 15 months
Created June 29, 2017
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$25
Joshua Nishinaka
22 days ago
PL
$10
Paul L
1 month ago
GK
$10
Gregory Kampf
2 months ago
$250
Anonymous
3 months ago
JY
$50
Jack Ybarra
3 months ago
JS
$50
Janice Suzuki
4 months ago
$33
Anonymous
6 months ago
SF
$300
Suzuka Ito and Family
8 months ago (Offline Donation)
HO
$100
Hanaes Ono
8 months ago (Offline Donation)
$10
Paul Graham
8 months ago
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