FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - March 3, 2021

PRESS CONTACTS:

Joseph Duong - jduong@janm.org - 213-830-5690

Lending Support to Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple as it Repairs Recent Vandalism


graphic of a teal buddhist structure, appears to be broken and falling backwards. In the corner right of the graphic, a group of people are pulling the weight of the broken fixture in attempts to save it. A yellow circle with red ring around it is behind the teal object. Background is beige.
Artwork by Rob Sato

LOS ANGELES—The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) extends its support and concern to Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple after recent vandalism to this beloved Little Tokyo landmark. While the physical damage is being repaired, we also send a message of healing to the temple, its members, and visitors.

Vandalism or violence perpetrated against houses of worship can never undermine the freedom of religion protected by the U.S. Constitution. Our nation is a diverse quilt of many beliefs and faiths. Any transgression against one, invariably tears the patchwork of all.

On Feb. 25, the temple was marred by a shattered glass window panel, damage to its two metal lanterns, and a fire set to the lantern’s handcrafted wooden stands. The crime is still under investigation by law enforcement, but it occurred during an alarming rise in hate crimes, discrimination, and harassment against Asian Americans. It is critical to call out these incidents now to stop this disturbing pattern.

An attack—against a Buddhist temple, a Muslim mosque, a Jewish synagogue, a Black church, or any house of faith or creed—hurts all of us.

“The universal wisdom of Buddhism is that all beings are interconnected by a thread of compassion and peace. In that spirit, JANM is resolute in its longtime friendship and kinship with Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple,” said Ann Burroughs, President and CEO of JANM. “The lanterns at Higashi Honganji must always stand as a beacon of welcome to all.”

A fund has been established to help repair the temple: https://www.gofundme.com/f/higashi

                 

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