Manzanar Committee Decries Los Angeles Times’ Publication of Inaccurate Letter About Japanese American Incarceration…Again

Public domain photo

LOS ANGELES — On December 8, the Manzanar Committee, sponsors of the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage and Manzanar At Dusk events, denounced the publication of a letter to the editor in the Los Angeles Times that attempted to justify the forced removal and unjust incarceration of over 120,000 Japanese/Japanese Americans in American concentration camps and other confinement sites during World War II.

To make matters worse, this is not the first time that the Times has failed to live up to their journalistic responsibilities in this regard. Indeed, the publication of the letter in question is more than reminiscent of a 2016 incident—almost two years to the day— when they published two very similar letters.

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Manzanar Committee Seeks Community Support for Phase II of Youth Education Project

Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey (left) during the early portion of the discussion on
the Manzanar “Riot,” held in the replica mess hall at Manzanar National Historic Site.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee

LOS ANGELES — On September 3, the Manzanar Committee announced the launch of Phase II of their pilot project aimed at educating college-age youth about the unjust incarceration of over 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans during World War II, and providing them with tools to help them teach that critical history to others.

The Committee also announced the launch of a crowdfunding campaign to raise the necessary funds for the project.

This project began in 2017 under the working title, Keeping Japanese American Incarceration Stories Alive, a partnership between the Manzanar Committee, National Park Service rangers at Manzanar National Historic Site, and the Nikkei Student Unions at California State University, Long Beach, California Polytechnic University, Pomona, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of California, San Diego.

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The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 – A Long Time Coming

August 10, 2018 marks the 30th anniversary of the enactment of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 (download a PDF of the actual bill), the legislation that provided redress and reparations for the forced removal and unjust incarceration of more than 120,000 Japanese/Japanese Americans in American concentration camps, and other confinement sites, during World War II.

Former incarcerees who were still alive on August 10, 1988, or their immediate family members, were eligible to receive the $20,000 individual reparations payment. A $50 million education fund was also created as a part of the legislation.

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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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