The Atlanta Comfort Women Memorial Task Force along with city of Brookhaven officials commemorated the one-year anniversary of the Young Girl’s Peace Monument being installed in the city at a June 28 ceremony at Blackburn Park.

Members of the Brookhaven City Council, Atlanta Comfort Women Memorial Task Force, elected officials and others with the Young Girl’s Peace Monument and its new butterfly garden at a June 28 ceremony at Blackburn Park. (Dyana Bagby)

A ribbon cutting to officially dedicate the new butterfly garden around the statue was part of the ceremony.

Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst and Councilmembers John Park and Linley Jones were on hand for the event. Also attending were several elected officials, including DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson; State Rep. Sam Park (D-Lawrenceville); State Rep. Bee Nguyen (D-Atlanta); State Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody); and State Sen. David Shafer, who is now running for Lt. Governor; and Fulton Chief Magistrate Cassandra Kirk.

The Young Girl for Peace Statue was commissioned by the Atlanta Comfort Women Memorial Task Force and donated to the city last year after the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta declined to allow the statue to be put on its property.

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.

The Task Force raised approximately $1 million to commission the statue and pay for its installation as well as to create the garden.

More than 100 people including many elected officials attended the June 28 ceremony honoring the one-year anniversary of the ‘comfort women’ memorial at Blackburn Park. The ceremony also included the unveiling of a new butterfly garden. (Dyana Bagby)
Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst, center, with Atlanta Comfort Women Memorial Task Force chair Baik Kyu Kim at his right, cut the ribbon with others at the unveiling the new butterfly garden at the ‘comfort women’ memorial in Blackburn Park. (Dyana Bagby)
The Young Girl’s Peace Monument and butterfly garden at Blackburn Park. (Dyana Bagby)