On March 12, the Manzanar Committee announced that, out of an abundance of caution, the 51st annual Manzanar Pilgrimage and the 2020 Manzanar At Dusk program, both scheduled for Saturday, April 25, have been postponed due to health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 virus.
“The unfolding public health crisis caused by the COVID-19 virus made the decision to postpone the Manzanar Pilgrimage and Manzanar At Dusk program both necessary and easy to make,” said Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey. “Our primary concern is for the health, welfare and safety of our participants.
“Nevertheless, this decision was difficult because we are losing an opportunity to raise our voices to say, ‘Stop repeating history.’ We know the dangers to the health and well being of people in concentration camps. We know how easily people will suffer and die under these conditions especially children. We know because our families witnessed it. We need to tell our story, now more than ever, because our story is a cautionary one.
“Many of our elected officials choose to obscure our country’s past and to distort the lessons of Executive Order 9066. We know, first-hand, the trauma of needlessly incarcerating innocent people behind barbed wire or in cages.
“Honestly, there is no more important time than now to tell our story and to demand this administration stop repeating history. This is precisely the time we need to stand together for civil rights for all, regardless of who they are, where they come from, or how they worship. This is why that, even though it is necessary, postponing the Manzanar Pilgrimage and Manzanar At Dusk is such a difficult thing to do.”
Those who have made reservations on the Little Tokyo bus to the Manzanar Pilgrimage will receive full refunds. Those who have made reservations on the Gardena bus should contact the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute at (310) 324-6611 for information.
The Manzanar National Historic Site, which is administered by the National Park Service, remains open and fully operational, as of this writing. Those planning to visit Manzanar should check the website, https://www.nps.gov/manz, for the latest information.
The Manzanar Committee will continue to monitor the situation and will provide information at a later date regarding either a new date for the Manzanar Pilgrimage and Manzanar At Dusk program, or their cancellation. For more information, call (323) 662-5102, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to https://manzanarcommittee.org/contact-us.