California Attorney General Appointee Rob Bonta and Long-Time Activist Jim Matsuoka to be Featured Speakers for 52nd Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, April 24, 2021

LOS ANGELES — Rob Bonta, Attorney General appointee, State of California, and activist Jim Matsuoka will be the featured speakers for the 52nd Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, which will be held online on Saturday, April 24, 2021, at 12:00 PM PDT on the Manzanar Committee’s YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/manzanarcommittee.

The theme of this year’s Pilgrimage is Upholding Democracy and Constitutional Rights for All: No More Concentration Camps.

Bonta, the son of activists, is expected to be confirmed by the California State Senate very soon. He would be the first Filipino American to serve as California Attorney General. Throughout his career in public service, Bonta, who has served in the California State Assembly representing the 18th District (Oakland, Alameda and San Leandro), has fought to reverse historic injustices–many affecting communities of color. He has been a leader in the fight to reform our justice system and stand up to the forces of hate.

Some of the legislation in which Bonta played a key role includes Assembly Bill 32, the historic legislation to end the use of for-profit, private prisons and detention facilities in California; the TRUTH Act, which stands up for, defends, and protects our immigrant neighbors. Signed into law in 2016, it requires immigrants be informed of their rights before speaking with ICE agents. It also mandates that local law enforcement hold a public forum to discuss their immigration policies, and makes all ICE-related records and data subject to the Public Records Act; and Senate Bill 10 in 2018, to end an unfair, unsafe, predatory, for-profit money bail system and replace it with a system that’s safer and fairer. SB 10, which Bonta co-authored with California State Senator Bob Hertzberg, to implement a system based on an individual’s risk and not on their wealth.

Born in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo, Matsuoka, 85, was among the 11,070 Japanese/Japanese Americans who were incarcerated at Manzanar. After the war, his family returned to Little Tokyo before they moved to a trailer park in Long Beach. After that, his family moved to the Crenshaw District of Los Angeles, and then to the Virgil Avenue area of Los Angeles, colloquially known, at the time, as “J-Flats.”

After serving in the United States Army, Matsuoka attended California State University, Long Beach, where he received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Social Sciences.

Matsuoka was among the leaders of a group of activists who participated in the first organized Manzanar Pilgrimage on a very cold December 27, 1969. He is often recognized for his work during the fight for redress and reparations in the late 1960s through the early 1990s, especially with Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress (NCRR; originally known as the National Coalition for Redress/Reparations).

In 2019, Matsuoka was the recipient of the Manzanar Committee’s Sue Kunitomi Embrey Legacy Award.

The 2021 Manzanar At Dusk program will be held online, live, at 5:00 PM PDT that same day. Now in its 23rd year, Manzanar At Dusk seeks to connect the history and issues surrounding Japanese American Incarceration with current issues via intergenerational discussion.

Both the daytime Pilgrimage program and the Manzanar At Dusk event are free and open to the public. Registration is required for the Manzanar At Dusk program. To register, go to: https://forms.gle/x6xwLTU1iH3XJyzy5.

For more information, call (323) 662-5102, or send e-mail to: 52ndpilgrimage@manzanarcommittee.org.

LEAD PHOTO: California State Assemblyperson Rob Bonta. Photo courtesy of the office of California State Assemblyperson Rob Bonta. 


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 info@manzanarcommittee.org. You can also follow the Manzanar Committee on Facebook, on Twitter at @manzanarcomm, on Instagram at @manzanarcommittee, on Pinterest and on YouTube.

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The Manzanar Committee’s Official web site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. You may copy, distribute and/or transmit any story or audio content published on this site under the terms of this license, but only if proper attribution is indicated. The full name of the author and a link back to the original article on this site are required. Photographs, graphic images, and other content not specified are subject to additional restrictions. Additional information is available at: Manzanar Committee Official web site – Licensing and Copyright Information.

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