Manzanar Committee’s Bruce Embrey At 46th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage: “Remembering Is Not Passive. We Must Act On Our Memories”
April 27, 2015 10 Comments
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.
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?