Hearing Stories About The Japanese American Incarceration Opens Doors To New Perspectives

Following shortly after the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage each year is the Manzanar At Dusk program, an interactive event in which participants can hear first-hand stories from those who were incarcerated in America’s concentration camps during World War II, and talk about the issues surrounding that experience and their relevance to what’s happening in our communities today. Julia Teranishi, who helped organize the 2014 Manzanar At Dusk program, spoke briefly at the 46th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage on April 25, 2015, about the significance of these events and she invited everyone to join us at Manzanar At Dusk later that evening.

Former UCSD Nikkei Student Union President Julia Teranishi, shown here during her
remarks at the 46th Annual Manzanar
Pilgrimage, April 25, 2015,
Manzanar National Historic Site.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee

Before my first Manzanar Pilgrimage three years ago, the little I knew about internment camps, I learned in grade school. After that first trip, I shared the stories I heard at this ceremony, and at Manzanar At Dusk, with my family and unknowingly started a conversation about my own ancestors. Turns out, my Dad’s side was both interned and fought in the war.

On a personal level, these pilgrimages helped paint a picture of my family’s lives.

Even for students whose families haven’t been touched directly by internment, hearing these stories opens doors to new perspectives, and I think seeking to understand each other is a powerful tool.

Manzanar At Dusk is platform for sharing stories and discussing issues regarding discrimination of any group, past and present. My friends from the schools of Nikkei Student Union have been working the past few months to organize this and would like to invite everyone here to join us after the ceremony.

A native of Torrance, California, Julia Teranishi is a senior at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), studying structural engineering. She served as President of the UCSD Nikkei Student Union during the 2013-14 academic year, and was a member of the organizing committee for the 2014 Manzanar At Dusk program.

The views expressed in this story are those of the author, and are not necessarily those of the Manzanar Committee.

News, Speeches, Reflections and Photos From The 46th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage/2015 Manzanar At Dusk

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