39th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage Scheduled For April 26

PILGRIMAGE: Bus Transportation Available From Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES — “Continuing The Legacy” is the theme for the 39th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, sponsored by the Manzanar Committee, which will be held on Saturday, April 26, 2008 at the Manzanar National Historic Site, located on US Highway 395 in California’s Owens Valley, between the towns of Lone Pine and Independence, California, approximately 230 miles north of Los Angeles.

Each year, hundreds of students, teachers, community members, clergy and former internees attend the Pilgrimage. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which provided an official government apology and reparations to thousands of Japanese Americans imprisoned without due process in ten concentration camps located in the most desolate, isolated regions of the United States. Manzanar was the first of these camps to be established.

The afternoon program begins at noon at the Manzanar cemetery site, with a performance by UCLA Kyodo Taiko.

Featured speakers are Dr. Arthur A. Hansen, Professor Emeritus of History, California State University, Fullerton and co-author of Manzanar Martyr, Bruce Kaji, a former Manzanar internee and Mickie Okamoto, President of the Nikkei Student Union at UCLA.

The afternoon program will conclude with the traditional interfaith service and Ondo dancing.

In addition to the daytime program, the popular Manzanar At Dusk (MAD) program is scheduled from 4:00 PM (not 5:00 PM. as stated on early editions of our Pilgrimage flyer) to 7:30 PM with a screening of “Music Man of Manzanar,” a short documentary film by Brian Maeda. The filmmaker, along with original members of the “Jive Bombers” will be in attendance for a brief question and answer period following the screening.

MAD participants will then have the opportunity to interact with former internees in attendance to hear their personal stories and discuss the relevance of the concentration camp experience to present-day events and issues.

Further details about the daytime program and Manzanar At Dusk will be announced at a later date.

“This is an opportunity for the public to hear and see first-hand, how executive decisions and public hysteria can undermine the basic liberties we take for granted,” said Kerry Cababa, Co-Chair of the Manzanar Committee. “When people come to the Pilgrimage, they are hit with the reality that this really happened and if we don’t remain vigilant, it will happen again.”

The Manzanar Committee has also announced that bus transportation to the Pilgrimage will be available from Los Angeles.

Two air-conditioned buses will depart from in front of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo (369 East First Street, between Alameda Street and Central Avenue) at 7:00 AM on April 26. All-day parking is available for $6.00 across from the departure point.

One bus will leave Manzanar at 4:00 PM, arriving in Los Angeles at approximately 8:30 PM. The other bus will leave Manzanar at 7:30 PM, arriving in Los Angeles at midnight.

Both buses will also take participants to the Interpretive Center at the Manzanar National Historic Site. Those wishing to participate in the Manzanar At Dusk program should make reservations on the bus leaving Manzanar at 7:30 PM.

Reservations are now being accepted from members of the general public on a first-come, first-served basis by sending e-mail to manzcomm-at-yahoo-dot-com or by calling (323) 662-5102. The non-refundable fare is $40.00 per seat if reserved before April 21 or $50.00 after that date.

Pilgrimage participants are advised bring their own lunch, drink and snacks as there are no facilities to purchase food at the Manzanar National Historic Site (restaurants and fast food outlets are located in nearby towns). Water will be provided at the site.

For more information about the Pilgrimage events, please contact the Manzanar Committee at (310) 532-7562 or (310) 908-7508, check their web site or send e-mail to info-at-manzanarcommittee-dot-org.


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