The following is a press release from the Independence Chamber of Commerce and the Eastern California Museum.
INDEPENDENCE, CA — Former Inyo County Supervisor Keith Bright will be honored Friday, April 25 at the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage Reception for the years of support and hard work he put into the campaign to preserve the Manzanar War Relocation Center and have it designated as a National Historic Site operated by the National Park Service.
The Friends of Manzanar wanted to take a little time this year to pay tribute to the efforts of Bright during the sometimes tumultuous effort to retain and recognize the Manzanar site.
The Manzanar Reception will be from 4-6 p.m. at the Eastern California Museum at the western edge of Independence, at 155 N. Grant St. It is hosted by the Independence Chamber of Commerce and the Friends of Eastern California Museum.
“It wouldn’t have happened without Keith,” said Rose Ochi, another pioneering Manzanar backer, who noted Bright worked tirelessly as an Inyo County Supervisor to win community support for the preservation of the Manzanar site. Ochi was also instrumental in gaining recognition and numerous state and federal historic designations for Manzanar, a task she took on during her stint as an attorney for the City of Los Angeles under Mayor Tom Bradley and legal as an advisor to Sue Embrey and the Manzanar Committee.
“Keith was able to navigate all the administrative details that had to be worked though and pushed through to enable the transfer of the land to the Park Service,” said Bill Michael, who was the director of the Eastern California Museum during those years.
Other speakers during the short ceremony besides Ochi and Michael will include representatives from the Independence Chamber of Commerce, and Manzanar National Historic Site Superintendent Tom Leatherman, who will detail the economic benefits Manzanar has generated for Inyo County. Finally, Friends of Manzanar Co-Presidents Lillian Kawasaki and Dennis Otsuji will present Bright a plaque commemorating his role in the recognition and preservation of this important part of the history of California, the West and the Nation.
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