As stated in an earlier story here on our web site, Reflections on the 39th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, our Manzanar At Dusk program was founded by Jenni Kuida and Ayako Hagihara back in 1997 with the program first being held around a camp fire at a camp just west of Independence, which is the first town north on Highway 395 from Manzanar.
Over the last eleven years, what was first known as Manzanar After Dark eventually moved to the American Legion Hall in Independence and over the years, drew increasing numbers of participants, with the majority being college students from campuses across the state—many came from the City College of San Francisco and UCLA.
In the most recent years, the name of the event changed to Manzanar At Dusk, and has been held at the Interpretive Center at the Manzanar National Historic Site and at Lone Pine High School. Although the program is “tweaked”a bit each year to meet current needs and address relevant issues of the day, the event has stayed true to form, with small group discussions where participants can hear about the experiences of Japanese Americans who were unjustly imprisoned in American concentration camps, such as Manzanar, during World War II, talk about the relevance of the Japanese American Internment to what’s happening in our world today, share their own experiences and perspectives, and discuss “what we can do now.”
This year’s Manzanar At Dusk event was held once again at Lone Pine High School and drew a record crowd estimated at 330 participants, who were from diverse backgrounds in terms of ethnicity, age, gender and where they were from. Indeed, participants were not exclusively Japanese Americans as some might think. Rather, even though Japanese Americans and Arab and Musllim Americans were well represented, participants from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds were in attendance. Further, although nearly sixty percent of those in attendance were between 18 and 29 years of age, we had participants ranging from twelve years of age to a few who were in their nineties.
In case you missed the event, the following video clips are from the wrap-up after the small group discussions concluded where representatives of a handful of our groups “reported out,” summarizing what their group talked about and highlighting the most important points. The final clip contains a cultural performance by two of our participants, a Muslim American and a Japanese American.
Jonathan Lee, the Manzanar Committee’s videographer, shot the documentary video footage for these clips.
LEAD PHOTO: One of the small group discussions during the 2008 Manzanar At Dusk program. Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee.
Manzanar At Dusk 2008 – Part 1
Manzanar At Dusk 2008 – Part 2
Manzanar At Dusk 2008 – Part 3
You can also watch all of the Manzanar Committee’s videos on our new YouTube channel.
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