Limelight: Island Residents Awarded Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
Longtime Salt Spring Island resident Richard Murakami and Victoria resident Dick Nakamura were among 30 constituents of Elizabeth May’s Saanich-Gulf Islands riding to accept Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medals at a special ceremony at the Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney on Thursday, September 13. The recipients were selected from a list of nominees by a panel comprised of May, John Treleaven, Dr. Margaret Fulton and Dr. Ambrose Marsh.
Katsuhide Richard Murakami
Richard Murakami of Salt Spring Island has a personal history that is the stuff of documentaries, chronicling injustice and the shameful chapters of history. His parents had a beautiful farm on Salt Spring Island, where they were raising five children until the internment of Japanese Canadians in the Second World War. Surviving incredible hardships, at the end of the war, the family (including their sixth child, born in the internment camp) returned to Salt Spring in 1954 and attempted to purchase their own farm. Not only was this not allowed, the family was met with racism and rejection. Persevering, their parents bought land in a new location. Despite many hardships, the family has offered much to their neighbours. In 2009, Richard was given the Citizen of the Year award by the Salt Spring Island Chamber of Commerce. In 2010 he received the Community Achievement Award from the Lieutenant Governor of BC Stephen Point for an act of extraordinary generosity—donating his family land in the heart of Ganges to create a 27-unit low-income housing complex. He donates yearly to the Salt Spring Island Japanese Garden Society, to the Memorial Scholarship in memory of his parents, The Lady Minto Hospital Foundation, to the schools, to the sports organization and to others too numerous to mention.
Richard Yoshio Nakamura
Richard Yoshio Nakamura was born in Comox, BC, but along with thousands of Japanese Canadians was interned during WWII in Alberta; his family losing everything. After the war, he dedicated himself to helping the community in which he lived. He served in all three Canadian forces and is a veteran of the Korean War. He has been very involved, and recognized with many honours, for his work to achieve redress for the Japanese Canadian community. As well, he has volunteered with many service organizations, including the Kiwanis Club (from which he received their service award), the Chamber of Commerce, the Intercultural Association of Greater Victoria and the Greater Victoria Japanese Cultural Association.