Manzanar Commitee Lauds Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga With Sue Kunitomi Embrey Legacy Award On July 17, 2011

Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga (center), shown here with Manzanar Committee Co-Chairs Kerry Cababa (left) and Bruce Embrey (right), received the Sue Kunitomi Embrey Legacy Award on July 17, 2011 in Gardena, California.
Photo: Gann Matsuda

GARDENA, CA — At the 42nd Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage on April 30, 2011, Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga, one of the seminal figures in the Japanese American community’s fight for redress and reparations, was announced as the 2011 recipient of the Sue Kunitomi Embrey Legacy Award.

The award is named after the late chair of the Manzanar Committee who was one of the founders of the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage and was the driving force behind the creation of the Manzanar National Historic Site.

But Herzig-Yoshinaga, now 87 years old, was unable to attend the event, which is held at the Manzanar National Historic Site, approximately 230 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

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Mako Nakagawa Delivers Keynote Address At 42nd Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage

The following is the text of the keynote address delivered at the 42nd Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage on April 30, 2011, by Mako Nakagawa.

Mako Nakagawa delivered the keynote address at the
42nd Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage on April 30, 2011,
at the Manzanar National Historic Site.
Photo: Gann Matsuda

Good afternoon.

I am very pleased to be able to join you on this wonderful occasion. We stand here today on sacred ground. If we listen, we can hear the cries of pain and agony, feel the confusion and worries, soak in the laughter and hope, and be touched by the strife to maintain collective dignity and courage. This land holds many, many stories which we must not let fade without being recorded.

The Manzanar Committee chose four Champions of Civil Rights as the theme for this year’s Pilgrimage. These people were not born super heroes. They were simply ordinary people who managed to accomplish extraordinary feats in the protection of our civil rights who were true to themselves and true to their own unique convictions.

They had courage under pressure. Everyone here today benefited from their efforts. Some may not recognize the names of Fred Korematsu, William Hohri, Frank Emi and Aiko Herzig Yoshinaga, but we are all in for a treat when we read about them in our program. Let the stories of these great role models inspire you. These three men are now deceased but their names will live on. Read more of this post

Manzanar Committee Honors Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga At 42nd Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage

The following are remarks by Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga, the recipient of the Manzanar Committee’s 2011 Sue Kunitomi Embrey Legacy Award, which was presented at the 42nd Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage on April 30, 2011. Herzig-Yoshinaga could not attend, so she provided the following remarks for publication here.

For more information on Herzig-Yoshinaga and this award, click on: Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga To Receive 2011 Sue Kunitomi Embrey Legacy Award at 42nd Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage.

Photo: Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga

What a honor it is for Jack and I to be named recipients of the Sue Kunitomi Embrey Legacy Award! If Jack had not left us some six years ago, he would have been absolutely delighted to be there today to receive this award because, over the years, we admired and had great respect for Sue, who fought the good fight for all of us. We are the beneficiaries of her many decades of dedication and hard work in raising the public’s awareness about Manzanar and the other American concentration camps of World War II.

Encouraged by pioneer fighters such as Sue Embrey, Jack’s deep interest in this odious chapter in American History stemmed largely from the knowledge that I, as an American-born citizen among thousands of others of Japanese descent, had been mistreated by the government and deprived of the very principles for which he had served in the Armed Forces to uphold. His resolve to join me in historical research efforts and also participate in social justice movements was grounded in his belief of the obvious racist nature of the World War II exclusion and imprisonment of Japanese Americans. Read more of this post

Lessons From Japanese American Internment Can Be Taught At Any Time

The following is a letter from Karen Korematsu, Co-Founder of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute For Civil Rights and Education. It was intended to be read during the 42nd Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, held on April 30, 2011, where her father was honored. However, the letter was not received in time. As such, we are publishing it here.

April 30, 2011

Manzanar Pilgrimage

Dear Teachers, Students and Community Members,

On Sunday, January 30, 2011, we celebrated California’s first Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution. This is the first statewide day to be named after an Asian American in United States History. Read more of this post