BLACK LIVES MATTER
Dear Members and Friends of Hakone,
Hakone Foundation stands in solidarity with "Black Lives Matter". We share the anger and grief over the police killing of George Floyd and many other African American citizens. We support the peaceful demonstrations in our community, in the state of California and throughout the nation in demanding justice and law enforcement reform.
In its one-hundred-year history, Hakone Estate and Gardens has faced nativism and prejudice. During the first 50 years, three sets of private owners of Hakone Gardens opposed California Asian Exclusion Acts, alien land laws and real estate covenants aimed at excluding people of color. Hakone also suffered during WWII when gardener James Sasaki and his Japanese American wife and children were sent to Topaz internment camp for three and a half years. Hakone recovered and flourished with the return of the Sasaki family but the experience of injustice by the government was never forgotten. In 1961, the Chinese American partners who owned Hakone, facing hostility and suspicion, hired Charlie Ray, an African American, to be the live-in gardener, which further upset some neighbors. But they and Hakone overcame. When the City of Saratoga acquired the gardens as a public park in 1966, it established the legacy of Hakone as a national treasure that stands for American ideals.
This moment is a tipping point in our country. It is the stark confrontation of thousands of American people, who in the midst of a pandemic, with great risks to themselves, are protesting brutal, institutional racism.
No one can remain silent. We at the Hakone Foundation support Black Lives Matter and join the many community organizations, institutions and businesses working for lasting social change. Black lives matter to all of us. Together we go forward. United we stand.
Hakone Board of Trustees
Ann Waltonsmith, Chairperson