The Atlanta Comfort Women Memorial Task Force and the city of Brookhaven are hosting a one-year anniversary ceremony of the installation of the Young Girl’s Statue for Peace at 11 a.m. on Thursday, June 28, at Blackburn Park, 3493 Ashford-Dunwoody Road.
The ceremony will include the dedication of a new butterfly-shaped garden surrounding the statue in Blackburn Park.
The statue, depicting a girl seated next to an empty chair, is intended to honor the so-called comfort women who were sexually trafficked by the Japanese military during World War II. It is identical to several similar statues installed around the world as part of a cultural and political dispute between South Korea and Japan over “comfort women” history and responsibility.
More than 100 people attended the June 30 unveiling last year at the statue’s first location in what is called Blackburn Park II by city officials. The relocation of the statue to the main Blackburn Park followed threats of lawsuits by Blackburn Park II neighbors over lack of input in the memorial’s placement. City officials also said they wanted the statue to be in a more prominent site.
Brookhaven was the first city in the state of Georgia and the Deep South to publicly commit to the Comfort Women memorial. The City Council agreed to put the memorial in Brookhaven after the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta backed out of locating the statue on its property.
“It’s heartening to see momentum continue throughout the U.S. to never forget the nearly 200,000 girls and women who were enslaved during World War II,” said Baik Kim, chair of the Task Force and President of the Korean American Grocers Association in Georgia, in a Task Force press release.
“For too long, atrocities against girls and women have gone unrecognized with attempts to even erase them from history. The establishment of the Comfort Women Memorial in metro Atlanta tells the world: We remember. We honor the suffering of women and children. You mattered. And we will learn from our mistakes,” said Soon Mee Kim, Task Force member, in the release.
The Task Force raised approximately $1 million to commission the statue and pay for its installation as well as to create the garden.