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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48th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage/2017 Manzanar At Dusk – In Photos

Looking west, towards the Eastern Sierras, during the 48th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee

Members of the Manzanar Committee are only now returning to a level of consciousness that closely resembles our respective normal conditions after an exhausting, yet exhilarating and inspiring weekend in which over 2,000 people attended the 48th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage on Saturday, April 29, and about 550 attended the 2017 Manzanar At Dusk program that same evening (shattering the previous Manzanar At Dusk record of 360 participants).

The entire day was a huge success, and not only for the Manzanar Committee, but for all of our communities. We came together as one to speak out against the injustices, the racism, and the attacks on people of color and immigrants. We came together to speak out for the Constitutional rights of all people, seeking to remind the world of what can happen when “…race prejudice, wartime hysteria and a failure of political leadership,” not to mention economic greed, are allowed to overwhelm our senses and judgment.

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THIS SATURDAY! 48th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage/2017 Manzanar At Dusk

Banners representing all of the American concentration camps in which more than 110,000 Japanese and Japanese
Americans were unjustly incarcerated during World War II are shown here during the interfaith service
at the 44th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage in 2013.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee

On Friday morning, April 28, the Manzanar Committee will begin its trek to the Owens Valley to begin our final preparations for the 48th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage and the 2017 Manzanar At Dusk program, scheduled for THIS SATURDAY, April 29, 2017.

Here are the critical points you need to know:

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Student Organizers On Why You Should Attend The 2017 Manzanar At Dusk Program

Juli Yoshinaga of the CSULB Nikkei Student Union is one of the organizers of the 2017 Manzanar At Dusk program.
(click above to view larger image)

As you may know, students from four Southern California universities are the primary organizers of the Manzanar At Dusk program—the Nikkei Student Unions at California Polytechnic University, Pomona, California State University, Long Beach, the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of California, San Diego.

Back in 1997, when the event was first held, and was originally known as Manzanar After Dark, students from the EducationInAction program at City College of San Francisco helped organize the event and contributed greatly to it, as participants, for several years.

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