MANZANAR COMMITTEE: supports rally held at Fort Sill on June 22; calls on community to rally in protest in Los Angeles Little Tokyo on June 27.
LOS ANGELES — On June 23, the Manzanar Committee, sponsors of the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage since 1969, the Manzanar At Dusk program since 1997, and the more recent Katari project, denounced plans by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to incarcerate immigrants at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. The Committee also expressed its support and thanks to those who participated in the June 22 protest at Fort Sill.
During World War II, more than 700 people of Japanese ancestry were unjustly incarcerated at Fort Sill. Earlier, members of the Apache tribe who had been forcibly removed from their ancestral lands were incarcerated there. Further, Fort Sill was a site where Native American children taken from their families were placed in boarding school—a government attempt to destroy their identity and culture.
“The bold action at Fort Sill on June 22 has forced us, the families of those incarcerated because of our ancestry, to lend our voices to the growing resistance to President Trump’s and ICE’s inhuman detention policy,” said Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey. “We must ramp up our efforts to call out the xenophobic, racist, illegal and barbaric policies of the Trump Administration.”
“The protest at Fort Sill was as bold as it was necessary,” added Embrey. “We salute Tsuru for Solidarity, who captured the connection between America’s long history of unjust detentions of communities of color and how that has led to the policies of today.”
Embrey pointed out that with ICE separating children from their families into what are, by definition, concentration camps, history is repeating itself.
“Remember, 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry, the majority young—many were children—faced similar treatment during World War II,” he observed. “Some families had their fathers torn from their home and sent to far-flung prisons like Fort Sill. But perhaps the most egregious and despicable act of the War Relocation Authority and the U.S. military was the rounding up and detaining of Japanese American orphans.”
“101 orphans were pulled from orphanages on the West Coast and sent to Manzanar,” he added. “Orphans, some just months old, were incarcerated in the ‘Children’s Village’ orphanage for the duration of the war, despite the fact that it defied any logic or reason to believe that children posed any type of threat, military or otherwise, to our country.”
Embrey also noted that the same kind of racism, scapegoating and xenophobia that resulted in the unjust incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II are the driving forces behind the actions of the Trump Administration.
“Just as in 1942, political opportunists of all stripes are creating a manufactured crisis to fuel their political ambitions and profit off the misery of innocents,” he lamented. “Our government knew there was no military necessity to incarcerate our families. Today, it is obvious to any rational person that there is no serious threat to our security from families seeking asylum and relief from violence and poverty.”
“The Trump Administration’s vicious and illegal family separation and detention policy must be overturned,” he added. “Their racist immigration framework has turned ICE into what can only be described as militarized shock troops who terrorize families, tear children away from their parents, lock them in cages and deny basic medical and health care, leading to children dying in captivity.”
Embrey called on the community to join the Manzanar Committee and other Little Tokyo-aligned organizations in protest at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo on Thursday, June 27, 2019, at 7:00 PM.
“We know what concentration camps are and we have no doubt ICE detention camps are concentration camps,” he emphasized. “We cannot stand by knowing what we know, having experienced what our families have experienced, and not raise our voices against this humanitarian crisis.”
“Euphemistic terms were used to disguise the injustices of Executive Order 9066 for decades,” he added. “We cannot allow euphemisms, racism and xenophobia to mute our outrage.”
“Enough is enough. We must call for an end to Trump’s illegal detentions now.”
The Japanese American National Museum is located at 100 North Central Avenue, Los Angeles, 90012 (see map below). For more information, please call (323) 662-5102, check the Manzanar Committee web site at https://manzanarcommittee.org, or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Japanese American National Museum
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