PILGRIMAGE: Preliminary details announced for 50th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage; Bus transportation available from Downtown Los Angeles.
LOS ANGELES — The 50th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, sponsored by the Manzanar Committee, is scheduled for Saturday, April 27, 2019, 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).
Manzanar was the first of the American concentration camps in which more than 120,000 Japanese Americans and their immigrant parents were unjustly incarcerated during World War II.
Each year, more than 1,000 people from all walks of life attend the Manzanar Pilgrimage, including students, teachers, community members, clergy and former incarcerees. Planning is underway for the afternoon event, as well as for the annual Manzanar At Dusk program, which follows each Pilgrimage that same evening.
This year’s Manzanar Pilgrimage will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first organized Manzanar Pilgrimage in 1969.
“The fact that the Manzanar Committee and the Manzanar Pilgrimage have been in existence for 50 years, enduring and spanning generations. is very important to take stock of,” said Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey. “The Manzanar Pilgrimage has endured. It has become an important part of our community’s effort to make sure our nation remembers what can happen when the rights of any community are trampled upon under the guise of national security concerns or because of xenophobia.”
“The Pilgrimages were a quest, searching for the truth of what happened, led mostly by young Sansei (third generation Japanese Americans),” added Embrey. “As it got more established, the Pilgrimage became a safe place for the survivors of camp to talk story, revealing the atrocities of camp, and educating the younger generations and broader public about our story. In some ways, Pilgrimages created the basis for the redress movement to be established and grow, and it helped prepare the community to talk about their unjust incarceration at the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians hearings in the early 1980s.”
Embrey added that over the past 50 years, the Manzanar Pilgrimage has sought to honor and remember the strength, endurance and dedication of the former incarcerees.
“We always try to remind everyone how the endurance and strength of those Issei, Nisei, Sansei and others who survived camp and the aftermath of their incarceration was remarkable,” Embrey stressed. “This year, we hope to capture how strength and endurance has been central to demanding justice over the decades, as well as to winning redress and reparations. It is this enduring spirit and search for truth that has kept the Pilgrimage alive and relevant, and has made it an important voice in our nation’s dialogue about civil rights.”
Cultural performances will begin at 11:30 AM PDT, while the main portion of the program begins at 12:00 PM.
Pilgrimage participants are advised to bring their own lunch, drinks, and snacks, as there are no facilities to purchase food at the Manzanar National Historic Site (restaurants and fast food outlets are located in Lone Pine and Independence, which are nearby). Water will be provided at the site, but participants are asked to bring a refillable water bottle that can be filled at refilling stations on site.
Those who wish to participate in the traditional flower offering during the interfaith service are advised to bring their own flowers.
Pilgrimage participants should also be aware that weather in the Owens Valley can be unpredictable and can change rapidly. The Manzanar Committee advises participants that they should always wear a hat, use sunscreen (ultraviolet light is not affected by clouds and is more intense at higher elevations), and to be prepared for any kind of weather, including high winds, heat, cold, and rain.
The Manzanar At Dusk program, which is co-sponsored by the Nikkei Student Unions at California State University, Fullerton, California State University, Long Beach, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of California, San Diego, will follow a couple of hours after the Manzanar Pilgrimage at 5:00 PM at Lone Pine High School, 538 South Main Street (U.S. Highway 395), approximately eight miles south of the Manzanar National Historic Site, across the street from McDonald’s (see map below).
Through a creative presentation, small group discussions and an open mic session, Manzanar At Dusk participants will have the opportunity to learn about the experiences of those incarcerated in the camps. Participants will also be able to interact with former incarcerees in attendance to hear their personal stories, to share their own experiences, and discuss the relevance of the concentration camp experience to present-day events and issues.
Further details about the Pilgrimage and the Manzanar At Dusk program will be announced at a later date.
The Manzanar Committee has also announced that bus transportation to the Pilgrimage will be available from Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo. The bus will depart at 7:00 AM, arriving at the Pilgrimage at approximately 11:30 AM, and will also take participants to the Visitor Center at the Manzanar National Historic Site following the afternoon program. The bus should arrive back in Los Angeles at approximately 8:30 PM.
Reservations for the Little Tokyo bus will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. The non-refundable fare is $45.00 per seat, $30.00 for youth (17 years of age and younger). Complimentary fares are available for those who were incarcerated at any of the former American concentration camps or other confinement sites during World War II.
Anyone wishing to attend the Manzanar At Dusk program that evening should make other transportation arrangements.
Both the Manzanar Pilgrimage and the Manzanar At Dusk programs are free and open to the public. For more information, or to reserve a seat on the bus departing from Little Tokyo, call (323) 662-5102 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Manzanar Committee is dedicated to educating and raising public awareness about the incarceration and violation of civil rights of persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II and to the continuing struggle of all peoples when Constitutional rights are in danger. A non-profit organization that has sponsored the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage since 1969, along with other educational programs, the Manzanar Committee has also played a key role in the establishment and continued development of the Manzanar National Historic Site. For more information, check out our web site at https://manzanarcommittee.org, call us at (323) 662-5102, and e-mail us at email@example.com. You can also follow the Manzanar Commitee on Facebook, on Twitter at @manzanarcomm, on Instagram at @manzanarcommittee, on Pinterest and on YouTube.
LEAD PHOTO: The Roll Call of the Camps: Banners representing the ten American concentration camps, the Crystal City Internment Camp and the 100th Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team/Military Intelligence Service are shown here just prior to being marched to the Manzanar cemetery for the traditional interfaith service. 49th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, April 28, 2018. Photo: Geri Ferguson/Manzanar Committee.
Manzanar National Historic Site via Google Maps
Lone Pine High School
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