Kiwi Burch with Takashi Hoshizaki, Bacon Sakatani, Marvin Inouye, and others at the Heart Mountain barrack in the Japanese American National Museum

Heart Mountain Honors the Memory of Karen “Kiwi” Burch on Juneteenth

The Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation mourns the passing of Karen “Kiwi” Burch, a member of the Albright-Marshall family that received the LaDonna Zall Compassionate Witness Award for the support they provided to their Japanese American neighbors in the Los Angeles neighborhood known as J-Flats during the war.

A descendant of George Washington Albright, a former enslaved person from Mississippi who was one of the earliest settlers of the J-Flats neighborhood, Kiwi was the family historian and chronicled life in the neighborhood before and after the war. 

The Foundation feels it is appropriate to honor her on Juneteenth, the anniversary of the day that enslaved people in Texas first learned they had been emancipated at the end of the Civil War.

Kiwi died on May 12 at age 71. Shortly before her death, she appeared at a Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation event at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. 

“Coming to know Kiwi has been one of the greatest gifts of my time at Heart Mountain, and she will forever remain one of the brightest lights in my life,” said Aura Sunada Newlin, Executive Director of the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation.

Kiwi was instrumental in helping the Foundation create its Making A Neighborhood exhibit, which was on display at the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center from last July to April. The exhibit tells the story of the cooperation between African Americans and Japanese Americans who lived in the J-Flats neighborhood before and after World War II. 

Kiwi’s family will honor her at a memorial service at 10 a.m., July 20 at Christ Presbyterian Church of Hollywood. They ask that donations in her name be made to one of the following organizations: the UCLA Alumni Association’s Burch Family Scholarship (UCLA Foundation, P.O. Box 7145, Pasadena, CA 91109-7145; Christ Presbyterian Church (4011 Clinton St., Los Angeles, CA 90004); or Indivisible Civics.