Nature is healing — but sometimes it needs a Public Works crew and a $5,000 GoFundMe campaign to heal at its full power. Or in this case, a $5,000 GoFundMe campaign that ended up raising $30,000, money well spent to replace the Japantown cherry blossom trees that were vandalized in early January 2021.
🎉 NEW cherry blossom trees are planted in front of @JCCCNC, thanks to everyone's generous efforts! The Center is working on an art installation and will have a rededication ceremony to celebrate the theme of 🌸 cherry blossoms inspiring beauty and hope 💛 #sakura #Japantown #SF pic.twitter.com/UK5JSsaAgH— Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival 🌸 (@NC_CBF) July 1, 2021
SFGate reports that new trees have been installed along Sutter Street where the previous flowering specimens had been destroyed. As seen in the above tweet, the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival said that “The Center is working on an art installation and will have a rededication ceremony to celebrate the theme of cherry blossoms inspiring beauty and hope.”
The “Center” they refer to is the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California, outside which the vandalized trees had resided, and the newly installed trees were just welcomed to their new home.
The privately funded GoFundMe campaign to replace the trees had exceeded its $5,000 goal before it had even started. A week after the vandalism, the Chronicle reported that there was “one $10,000 gift before the campaign went online.”
The old trees have sentimental value that cannot be replaced. According to the GoFundMe page, “The Center planted the Cherry Blossom trees to commemorate the visit of His Majesty and Her Majesty of Japan in 1994. They were the first cherry blossom trees to be planted after the SF Redevelopment Agency removed all of the cherry blossom trees that were originally part of Japantown.”
But that’s of little consequence to the thousands of people who will enjoy them when these new trees blossom next spring, as they are expected to do.