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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AUDIO: Manzanar, Manzanar Pilgrimage The Focus of 99% Invisible Podcast

The cemetery monument at Manzanar.
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee

On March 28, 2017, the Manzanar Pilgrimage and its origins, along with the Manzanar National Historic Site, was the focus of 99% Invisible, a podcast that. “…is about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about—the unnoticed architecture and design [and history] that shape our world. With 150 million downloads, 99% Invisible is one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes.”

You can find out more about 99% Invisible here.

Their podcast on Manzanar features interviews with Manzanar Pilgrimage and Manzanar Committee co-founder Warren Furutani, Alisa Lynch of the Manzanar National Historic Site and Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey. You’ll also hear excerpts from Manzanar Pilgrimage and Manzanar Committee co-founder Sue Kunitomi Embrey’s oral history with Densho.org.

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Warren Furutani To Be A Featured Speaker at 48th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage

Warren Furutani
(click above to view larger image)
Photo courtesy Warren Furutani

PILGRIMAGE: Bus transportation from Downtown Los Angeles and Gardena will be available.

LOS ANGELES — Former California State Assemblyman and long-time community activist Warren Furutani will be a featured speaker at the 48th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, sponsored by the Manzanar Committee, on Saturday, April 29, 2017, at the Manzanar National Historic Site, located on U.S. Highway 395 in California’s Owens Valley, between the towns of Lone Pine and Independence, approximately 230 miles north of Los Angeles (see map below).

Each year, over 1,000 people from diverse backgrounds, including students, teachers, community members, clergy and former incarcerees attend the Pilgrimage, which commemorates the unjust incarceration of over 110,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry in ten American concentration camps, and other confinement sites, located in the most desolate, isolated regions of the United States, during World War II. Manzanar was the first of the American concentration camps to be established.

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Manzanar Committee’s Bruce Embrey At 46th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage: “Remembering Is Not Passive. We Must Act On Our Memories”

The following are Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey’s closing remarks at the 46th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, held on April 25, 2015, at the Manzanar National Historic Site.


Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey, shown here delivering the closing remarks at the conclusion of
the 46th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, April 25, 2015,
Manzanar National Historic Site.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee

Today, we stand here, at this National Historic Site, on the very land that was once an American concentration camp. We stand here today having had Presidents apologize for this grave injustice. We’ve had Presidents name Fred Korematsu and Gordon Hirabayashi American heroes.

Ours is a powerful story, one we should be proud of telling. It is a story of a resilient people, who, facing one of the greatest failures of American democracy, chose to not only survive, but also to demand justice.

Ours is a powerful story, one of loss of freedom, of racism, and of being marched off to live behind barbed wire, and when forced to leave and resettle with little or no real support, the Japanese American community had mixed emotions. No doubt people were angry. How could you not be angry? Losing homes, businesses, schooling—being accused with absolutely no proof of being the enemy, of plotting to harm your own country, denied your birthright of citizenship, all because of your ancestry. Who wouldn’t be?

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