Connecting the injustices of the past with similar injustices of the present will be the focus of the 2019 Manzanar At Dusk program, sponsored by the Manzanar Committee, scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, at the Lone Pine High School gymnasium, located at 538 S. Main St. (U.S. Highway 395), in Lone Pine, across the street from McDonald’s.
The Manzanar At Dusk program follows the 50th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage that same day at the Manzanar National Historic Site, located between Lone Pine and Independence, approximately 230 miles north of Los Angeles. Cultural performances begin at 11:30 a.m. and the main program at noon.
Now in its 22nd year, Manzanar At Dusk is co-sponsored by the Nikkei Student Unions at Cal Poly Pomona, CSU Fullerton, CSU Long Beach, UCLA and UC San Diego.
“Manzanar At Dusk is a collaborative effort between the Manzanar Committee and Japanese American college students to continue educating others about the significance of the Japanese American incarceration experience,” said Wendi Yamashita, Ph.D., assistant professor at Ithaca College’s Center for the Study of Culture, Race, and Ethnicity, who serves as co-coordinator of the event. “These students attend a two-day, intensive training at Manzanar and work on this program throughout the school year despite their busy schedules as college students and organizers. It means a lot to me to be a part of this team and to see our students learn and grow.
“I have always loved Manzanar At Dusk because it allows for meaningful conversations and connections to emerge as we all process together how Japanese American Incarceration has impacted the lives of all Americans, not just Japanese Americans. All of our communities are more connected in our struggles than we realize and understanding that is so powerful.”
Through a creative presentation, small group discussions, and an open mic session, participants will have the opportunity to interact with former incarcerees in attendance and others to hear their personal stories. Participants will also be able to share their own experiences and discuss the relevance of the Japanese American Incarceration experience to present-day issues.
“Manzanar At Dusk is an event I enjoy organizing because it involves collaboration between community and student leaders working towards continuing an intergenerational conversation about history that should not be forgotten,” said Lauren Matsumoto, co-president of UCSD Nikkei Student Union. “In addition, it’s a time when the community can come together to reflect on the past in order to discuss ways that we can be activists for the present while there continues to be injustices committed against many other communities whom we need to stand with.”
“The Manzanar Pilgrimage gives us the opportunity to learn more about Japanese American History in one of the actual locations where they were incarcerated, while Manzanar At Dusk provides us with a space where we can talk about what happened,” said Emma Boyles, co-cultural awareness and community service chair of UCLA Nikkei Student Union. “It’s important to me, personally, because I’m very interested in history, and history books have always glossed over the Japanese American perspective of World War II. Manzanar At Dusk gives me the opportunity to look back at Japanese American Incarceration and see how it relates to what is happening today.”
Water will be provided during the event. However, those attending the program are asked to bring a refillable water bottle that can be filled on site.
Both the daytime pilgrimage program and the Manzanar At Dusk event are free and open to the public. For more information, call (323) 662-5102 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.