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