Coming Together to Stand Up – Reflections on the 48th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage/2017 Manzanar At Dusk

Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey addresses the crowd
during the 48th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage on April 29, 2017
at the Manzanar National Historic Site
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee

by Bruce Embrey

In the days and weeks leading up to Saturday, April 29, the day of the 48th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, the phone calls and e-mails poured in. There was no doubt that 2017 was the 75th year since our families, our community, were forced from their homes into horse stalls and barracks sparked interest in this year’s Pilgrimage.

People in their 80’s and 90’s, who had never been on a Pilgrimage before, called and told me their personal stories. Others were matter-of-fact: “Just the details on how to get to Manzanar,” some said. “Have to go before I cannot,” they’d say. Each and every conversation was meaningful.

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AUDIO: Manzanar, Manzanar Pilgrimage The Focus of 99% Invisible Podcast

The cemetery monument at Manzanar.
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee

On March 28, 2017, the Manzanar Pilgrimage and its origins, along with the Manzanar National Historic Site, was the focus of 99% Invisible, a podcast that. “…is about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about—the unnoticed architecture and design [and history] that shape our world. With 150 million downloads, 99% Invisible is one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes.”

You can find out more about 99% Invisible here.

Their podcast on Manzanar features interviews with Manzanar Pilgrimage and Manzanar Committee co-founder Warren Furutani, Alisa Lynch of the Manzanar National Historic Site and Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey. You’ll also hear excerpts from Manzanar Pilgrimage and Manzanar Committee co-founder Sue Kunitomi Embrey’s oral history with Densho.org.

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Manzanar NHS To Host Pilgrimage Weekend Events, April 28–30, 2017

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


To download a printable flyer,
click on the image above.
(Adobe Reader software required to view/print)

INDEPENDENCE, CA — Manzanar National Historic Site invites visitors to participate in a weekend of special events in conjunction with the Manzanar Committee’s 48th Annual Pilgrimage. All are welcome and the events are free. This year’s Pilgrimage coincides with the 75th Anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt signing Executive Order 9066, ultimately authorizing the United States Army to forcibly remove and incarcerate all Japanese Americans and Japanese immigrants in California, western Oregon and Washington, and southern Arizona.

The government incarcerated more than 11,000 men, women, and children in Manzanar.

This year also marks the 25th Anniversary of Congress’ establishment of Manzanar National Historic Site. It was the result of decades of grass-roots efforts by the Manzanar Committee, beginning on a cold, winter day in 1969, an event now considered the first Manzanar Pilgrimage.

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Resistance At Tule Lake

Kurt Ikeda
(click above to view larger image)
Photo courtesy Kurt Ikeda

by Kurt Ikeda

When I was a child,
I was just a little too Japanese.
My L’s and R’s
Came out as
Reft and Light
As in whenever I left my Japanese at home.
It would make me feel all right.

When I was in Math Class
I sat between two kids: a white boy and a Yonsei; we looked alike
Like a line between the divide signs
He couldn’t discern the difference between the dots
the Yonsei and I.
We looked alike.
But I didn’t sound like the others.

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