In early May 2021, Japanese Americans living at senior living facilities established by Keiro were served 60-day eviction notices to clear the way for market-rate housing. The hypocritical profiteers in the JA community claim that: “For 60 years, the name Keiro (“respect for our elders”) has reflected the values of the JA and Japanese community and our commitment to enhance the quality of senior life in Our Community.”

Beginning in 1961, Keiro provided culturally sensitive care for the community. The foundation expanded its real estate holdings and services with donations, including many elderly JA’s who signed over their properties towards the end of their lives. In 2016, the Keiro Foundation sold its four senior care facilities to Pacifica for $41 million.

The seniors were given a five year grace period and an intentionally ineffective community advisory board. Pacifica chose to designate the Lincoln Heights facility as a Covid-19 site for profit, bringing Covid patients into the home, leading the facility to have one of the worst death rates in the country.

Our so-called leaders have always seized the opportunity to betray our community in favor of businesses and developers. In the 1940s, our neighborhoods were forcefully converted into the LAPD’s Parker Center. In the last decade, the city seized our neighborhoods again to expand the Metro. Japanese Village Plaza was sold to Public Storage to host gentrifying businesses like Mokuyobi. Their greed has engineered a commercial “community” that prioritizes wealth to strengthen a violent pattern of displacement.

We demand answers from Shawn Miyake, former President and the board. We demand full disclosure of every dollar of Keiro’s sale. We demand transparency from any organization that claims to represent us and their prioritization of the working class and housing insecure.

These betrayals cannot continue. Care will not be killed by greed. We do not accept the defeatist refrain of
Shikata ga nai. It can be helped.

Photo: Steven Chun

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