2013 Manzanar At Dusk: College-Age Youth Taking Charge

PILGRIMAGE: Limited seats still available on bus to the Manzanar Pilgrimage from Los Angeles.

A diverse crowd, in terms of ethnicity, gender, age and experiences, come together each year at the Manzanar At Dusk program.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee

LOS ANGELES — College students will once again take the lead role during the 2013 Manzanar At Dusk program, sponsored by the Manzanar Committee, scheduled from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM on Saturday, April 27, 2013, at the Lone Pine High School gymnasium, located at 538 South Main Street (US Highway 395), in Lone Pine, California, across the street from McDonald’s (see map below).

The Manzanar At Dusk program follows the 44th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, scheduled for 12:00 PM that same day, at the Manzanar National Historic Site, between the towns of Lone Pine and Independence, approximately 230 miles north of Los Angeles (see map below).

Manzanar At Dusk is co-sponsored by the Nikkei Student Unions of Cal State Long Beach, Cal Poly Pomona, University of California, Los Angeles, and University of California, San Diego.

Through a creative presentation, small group discussions, and an open mic session, participants will have the opportunity to interact with former incarcerees in attendance to hear their personal stories. Participants will also be able to share their own experiences and discuss the relevance of the concentration camp experience to present-day events and issues.

Student organizers began to take the program back to its 1997 roots in 2011, when they resumed their leadership role in organizing the event.

“We’re proud to be involved with the Manzanar Pilgrimage and Manzanar At Dusk, as it brings us closer to both the community and the Japanese American history that we are constantly trying to preserve,” said Casey Sakima, President of the UCLA Nikkei Student Union. “The Pilgrimage has not only given us the opportunity to learn about the history, but it has allowed our members to gain valuable experience in planning how to share the stories with other individuals. We hope to give Manzanar At Dusk participants the same sense of realism and connectedness that we’ve received from internee stories during previous Pilgrimages.”

“It is important for our organizations to be involved with the Manzanar At Dusk program because we are the next generation of the Japanese American community,” said Megan Ono, President of the CSULB Nikkei Student Union. “It is a great learning opportunity for us, and we hope to continue our involvement and pass on these stories forever.”

“The events of World War II have strongly, if not completely, changed the way the Japanese American community has evolved over time,” said Carly Lindley, President of the UCSD Nikkei Student Union. “That is why we want to continue to help organize this event and help spread the stories of those affected so as to not forget this key point in our history.”

The primary focus of the student organizers will be sharing stories of those who were incarcerated behind the barbed wire during World War II.

“The stories of those who were incarcerated are the most important stories,” Lindley noted. “There is also an increased urgency in passing down these stories because those who were incarcerated are all passing away, as this all happened over 70 years ago. But the fact that it happened so long ago does not take away from their great importance. We must remember the first person accounts and make sure that we never let this happen to another community.”

“We believe that sharing these memories is important in keeping our history and heritage alive,” Sakima emphasized. “As time progresses, we lose more and more stories about a past many know little about. We focus on sharing these stories because these are not things you might read in a history textbook. They come from first-hand experiences and the emotions felt during that time.”

Organizers stressed that Manzanar At Dusk offers participants a unique opportunity to learn about the history and issues surrounding the Japanese American concentration camp experience.

“The Manzanar At Dusk program is unique in the sense that it provides attendees a real-life, in-depth look into the experiences of those incarcerated, as opposed to learning about the World War II experiences of Japanese Americans through a textbook or history lesson,” said Ono. “With present day issues like racial profiling, and prejudice against different minority groups, it is important to educate people about Manzanar, so that no one will ever have to go through that ever again.”

The Manzanar Committee has also announced that a limited number of seats are still available on their bus to the afternoon Pilgrimage program from Downtown Los Angeles.

For further information or to make a reservation, call (323) 662-5102, or send e-mail to 44thpilgrimage@manzanarcommittee.org. The non-refundable fare is $40.00 per seat.

Those wishing to attend the Manzanar At Dusk program should make other transportation arrangements.

Both the daytime Pilgrimage program and the Manzanar At Dusk event are free and open to the public.

For more information, check the Manzanar Committee’s official blog at http://blog.manzanarcommittee.org, call (323) 662-5102, or send e-mail to 44thpilgrimage@manzanarcommittee.org.

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The Manzanar Committee is dedicated to educating and raising public awareness about the incarceration and violation of civil rights of persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II and to the continuing struggle of all peoples when Constitutional rights are in danger. A non-profit organization that has sponsored the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage since 1969, along with other educational programs, the Manzanar Committee has also played a key role in the establishment and continued development of the Manzanar National Historic Site. You can also follow the Manzanar Commitee on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest and YouTube.

Lone Pine High School

 

Manzanar National Historic Site

 


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