Honoring The Powerful, Immeasurable Legacy Left By Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga

Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga (left) with Manzanar Committee member Gann Matsuda at the
annual Day of Remembrance program in
Los Angeles on February 17, 2018.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Alisa Lynch

I’ve been “forced” to recall how I got started as a community activist quite a bit lately.

Indeed, back in June, when NCRR (Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress; originally the National Coalition for Redress and Reparations) held their event to launch their new book about their incredible, highly impactful history, it reminded me of all the activists who came before me who have been mentors and teachers for my own community activism.

On the morning of July 19, I received word that Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga passed away the night before. She was just a little over a month away from celebrating her 93rd birthday.

Aiko is well-known in the Japanese American, Asian American, and broader civil rights communities for her tireless work for social justice since her time in New York after she was one of the 120,000 Japanese/Japanese Americans who were unjustly incarcerated in American concentration camps and other confinement sites during World War II.

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Manzanar Committee Mourns The Loss of Legendary Community Activist Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga

Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga, shown here during the 48th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, April 28. 2017.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee.


LOS ANGELES — The Manzanar Committee extends its deepest sympathies to the family, friends, and colleagues of Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga, who passed away on July 18 in Torrance, California at the age of 92.

Herzig-Yoshinaga, who was one of the 120,000 Japanese/Japanese Americans who were unjustly incarcerated in American concentration camps during World War II, is best known for her painstaking research in the National Archives where she discovered the original edition of Western Defense Command General John DeWitt’s Final Report, Japanese Evacuation from the West Coast, 1942, which clearly indicated that racism, not national security concerns or military necessity, was the primary motivating factor in the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans from the West Coast some 76 years ago.

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Third Annual Manzanar Committee Student Awards Program – Photos

Some of the winners of the Third Annual Manzanar Committee Student Awards Program.
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee.

GARDENA, CA — Due to some issues with photos of the winning student projects, we’re rather late publishing photos of the presentation luncheon for our Third Annual Manzanar Committee Student Awards Program, a creative works program in which K-12 students may submit essays, short stories, poetry, works of art, including drawings, collages, posters, and works involving technology, including animation, podcasts, movies, or videos.

The awards program recognizes students who demonstrate an understanding of his/her guiding principles of social justice in today’s society.

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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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