The cemetery monument at the Manzanar National Historic Site. (Photo by Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee)

Dale Minami, Fred Korematsu’s lead counsel in his 1983 coram nobis case, Alan Nishio, former Southern California co-chair of what was then the National Coalition for Redress and Reparations, Karen Umemoto, director of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center, UCLA Kyodo Taiko, and Bombu Stories will be featured during the 53rd annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, to be held online, premiering at 12 p.m. Pacific Time on Saturday, April 30, on the Manzanar Committee’s YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/user/manzanarcommittee.

U.S. Sen, Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Kathy Jefferson Bancroft, tribal historic preservation officer, Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone Reservation, will offer welcoming remarks.

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  Under normal circumstances, 1,000-2,500 people from all walks of life attend the Manzanar Pilgrimage each year, including students, teachers, community members, clergy and former incarcerees.

But like the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic will prevent the committee from sponsoring the traditional live pilgrimage at the Manzanar National Historic Site. Likewise, the 2022 Manzanar At Dusk program will be held online for the second consecutive year. The program is co-sponsored by the Nikkei Student Unions at CSU Fullerton, CSU Long Beach, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, UCLA, UC Riverside, and UC San Diego.

The 2022 Manzanar At Dusk program will be held in the hours following the premiere of the Manzanar Pilgrimage, live at 5 p.m. via Zoom on April 30.

In addition to speakers and cultural performances, an interfaith service will be featured during the online pilgrimage program.

“The 53rd annual Manzanar Pilgrimage will highlight lessons learned from our decades-long struggle to win redress,” said Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey. “We will have a number of speakers, all fierce defenders of democracy and civil rights. Several also played leading roles in the Japanese American redress and reparations movement.

“It is hard to imagine that our community would be remembering the 80th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066 while our country is on the verge of another constitutional crisis, as our democracy is threatened by a rise in racist authoritarianism. Conditions today, sadly, make our story of forced removal and wholesale violations of civil, constitutional and human rights all too relevant.

“It is our hope that reflecting on the lessons we’ve learned over the past 80 years will make our community stronger, more resilient, and more effective in defending our democracy.”

Further details about the two events may be announced at a later date. For more information, call (323) 662-5102, or email info@manzanarcommittee.org.

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 nonprofit 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.

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