Manzanar Committee Denounces U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on President Trump’s Discriminatory Travel Ban

Fred Korematsu (center front) with his attorneys following his 1984 victory in U.S. District Court in which his 1944 conviction was vacated, even though his conviction, which was originally upheld by the
U.S. Supreme Court, would remain on the books for 74 years.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo courtesy of the Fred Korematsu family.


LOS ANGELES — On June 27, the Manzanar Committee repudiated the ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States in Trump v. Hawai’i, lifting the injunction on President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

“We are outraged by the decision of the Supreme Court,” said Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey. “This travel ban is fundamentally unconstitutional, failing to consider the real intent of the ban-anti-Muslim prejudice-and instead, hid behind a so-called threat to national security. We’ve heard this all before. But we’d hoped the Court would see the ban for what it is and had learned from its past errors in Fred Korematsu’s case.”

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Manzanar Committee Decries President Trump’s Racist Attacks on Immigrant Children and Families

The children and infants in this photograph were among the 101 orphans who were incarcerated at
Children’s Village at the Manzanar concentration camp during World War II. They were among
more than 120,000 Japanese/Japanese Americans who were falsely targeted as threats to
national security by the United States Government.
(click above to view larger image)
Public domain photo via Densho.org.


LOS ANGELES — On June 25, the Manzanar Committee, sponsors of the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage since 1969 and the more recent Manzanar At Dusk program for the last 21 years, denounced the policies and actions by President Donald Trump and his administration that have either separated children of immigrants entering the United States from their families or needlessly incarcerated immigrants, individually or as families.

Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey noted the striking similarities between the current attacks on immigrants and the unjust incarceration of more than 110,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans in concentration camps and other confinement sites during World War II.

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Some Thoughts About NCRR’s Impact As They Publish a New Book About Their History

Community members marched through Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo
during a Day of Protest, held in August 1989.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda

As the movement for redress and reparations for the more than 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans who were unjustly incarcerated or otherwise forcibly removed from the West Coast during World War II began to gain steam in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, different views on how to win redress emerged. Some might say that those divergent views became wide chasms. But in the end, those different paths to achieve victory came together, for the most part, and necessarily so.

One of those divergent views was that the people had to be part of the movement, that organizing the community on a grass-roots level would be critical if redress was to be achieved and it was NCRR that led the way in that regard.

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Exploring Manzanar: Then and Now

One of the inscriptions in the wall of the Manzanar Reservoir written by a Japanese
American incarceree who worked on the reservoir crew.
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee

During a recent solo trip to the Manzanar National Historic Site in which I spent about 14 hours over roughly two days exploring the site by car and foot, it dawned on me that it was the first time that I was exploring the site in such a detailed fashion or spending as much time doing so.

That realization was spurred by a comment made by Manzanar ranger Rose Masters.

“I can’t believe you’ve never wandered around like this before,” she exclaimed (yes, “exclaimed” is the appropriate verb here).

For those of you who know me fairly well, that must sound really, really strange, if not unbelievable. After all, I’ve been involved with Manzanar for more than 31 years. I’ve been a member of the Manzanar Committee since the mid-1990’s. I served on the Manzanar Advisory Commission from 1992-2002. I’ve been one of the coordinators for the Manzanar At Dusk program since 2008, and now I’m one of the coordinators of a project, tentatively named, Keeping Japanese American Incarceration Stories Alive, which I urge you to read about here.
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