2014 Public Historic Preservation Projects At Manzanar National Historic Site

The following is a press release from the National Park Service.

“Pool At Pleasure Park (later renamed Merritt Park),” circa 1943.
Photo: Ansel Adams

INDEPENDENCE, CA — The public is cordially invited to help make a concrete contribution at Manzanar National Historic Site this summer. Under the direction of National Park Service archeologists Jeff Burton and Laura Ng, two different volunteer historic preservation workshops will be offered:

August 15 – 17

In the historic administration and staff housing area, volunteers will be resetting missing stones, painting stones, and removing brush and sand from landscape features. Volunteers will be digging with shovels and small hand tools, cutting and loading brush, using wheelbarrows, collecting rocks to reconstruct landscape features, and occasionally screening sediments to retrieve artifacts. Read more of this post

Manzanar Committee Calls On Inyo County To Protect Owens Valley In Perpetuity From Large-Scale Solar Energy Development

For a printable copy of this statement,
click on the image above.
(requires Adobe Reader software to view/print.

On July 8, 2014, the Manzanar Committee submitted its official comments to the Inyo County Planning Department and Board of Supervisors in response to their Notice of Preparation for the Program Environmental Impact Report for their 2013 Renewable Energy General Plan Amendment (REGPA).

In their initial draft of this amendment, the County would have opened the Owens Valley, from Independence south to Lone Pine, east of U.S. Highway 395, to large-scale renewable energy facilities that would intrude upon the viewshed of the Manzanar National Historic Site. Along with tribal organizations in the Owens Valley and the Owens Valley Committee, the Manzanar Committee fought to have this area removed from consideration, to protect both the Owens Valley and its residents, along with the Manzanar National Historic Site.

After months of political pressure, the Board of Supervisors removed the Owens Valley from consideration as part of the 2013 REGPA in their latest draft (June 2014), which is now moving to the next stage, the drafting of a Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR).

Our comments for the PEIR below, written by Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey, closely mirror our initial comments on the 2013 REGPA.

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National JACL Opposes LADWP’s Proposed Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch Near Manzanar

On June 9, the National Japanese American Citizens League wrote letters to the general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) and to the president of the LADWP Board of Water and Power Commissioners, opposing their planned Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch, a 1,200-acre industrial solar energy generating facility that would be built in close proximity to the Manzanar National Historic Site.

A large-scale renewable energy facility built within Manzanar’s viewshed will prevent National Park Service staff and our community from teaching current and future generations about how the desolation of the area was a factor in the selection of Manzanar as the location for one of ten American concentration camps in which over 110,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry and their immigrant parents (denied citizenship by racist laws) were unjustly incarcerated during World War II. The isolation of the area was also used as a means of controlling the 11,070 people who were locked up behind the barbed wire at Manzanar, instilling in them a sense of desolation, fear, despair and hopelessness—the construction of this facility within Manzanar’s viewshed will forever destroy the ability to teach this crucial part of this history.

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Manzanar Committee Mourns The Passing Of Long-Time Activist Yuri Kochiyama

LOS ANGELES — The Manzanar Committee expresses its deepest sympathies to the family of Yuri Kochiyama, a long-time civil rights and community activist in the African American, Latino, Native American and Asian American communities, who passed away on June 1, at the age of 93.

On June 2, the Kochiyama family released the following statement:

Life-long activist Yuri Kochiyama passed away peacefully in her sleep in Berkeley, California on the morning of Sunday, June 1, at the age of 93. Over a span of more than fifty years, Yuri worked tirelessly for social and political change through her activism in support of social justice and civil and human rights movements.

Yuri was born on May 19, 1921, in San Pedro, California, and spent two years in a concentration camp in Jerome, Arkansas during World War II. After the war, she moved to New York City and married Bill Kochiyama, a decorated veteran of the all-Japanese American 442nd combat unit of the U.S. Army.

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