“Civil Rights: Unfinished Business” is the theme for the 41st annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, sponsored by the Los Angeles-based Manzanar Committee, scheduled for 12 p.m. on Saturday, April 24, at the Manzanar National Historic Site, located on Highway 395 in California’s Owens Valley, between the towns of Lone Pine and Independence, approximately 230 miles north of Los Angeles.
Each year, over 1,000 people from diverse backgrounds, including students, teachers, community members, clergy and former internees attend the Pilgrimage, which commemorates the unjust imprisonment of over 110,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry in ten American concentration camps located in the most desolate, isolated regions of the United States. Manzanar was the first of these camps to be established.
The afternoon program, held at the Manzanar cemetery site, will begin with a performance by UCLA Kyodo Taiko, the first collegiate taiko group in North America.
The featured speaker at this year’s Pilgrimage is former Heart Mountain internee and draft resister Takashi “Tak” Hoshizaki, who is active with the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation, a non-profit organization that is working to establish an Interpretive Learning Center at the site of the Heart Mountain concentration camp near Powell, Wyoming.
The afternoon program will conclude with the traditional interfaith service and Ondo dancing.
In addition to the daytime program, the Pilgrimage continues that evening with the popular Manzanar At Dusk (MAD) program, co-sponsored by the Lone Pine Unified School District and Lone Pine High School, scheduled from 5 to 7:45 p.m. at the Lone Pine High School gymnasium, located at 538 South Main Street in Lone Pine. MAD participants will have the opportunity to interact with former internees in attendance to hear their personal stories and discuss the relevance of the concentration camp experience to present-day events and issues.
A panel discussion, small group discussions and an open mic session will provide MAD participants the opportunity to interact with former internees in attendance to hear their personal stories. Participants will also be able to share their own experiences and discuss the relevance of the concentration camp experience to present-day events and issues.
The Manzanar Committee has also announced that bus transportation to the Pilgrimage will be available from Los Angeles.
Two air conditioned buses will depart from Maryknoll Japanese Catholic Center, 222 South Hewitt St., Los Angeles, 90012, at 7 a.m. on April 24. They will arrive at the Manzanar National Historic Site at approximately 11:30 a.m. Free, all-day parking is available at Maryknoll.
Both buses will take participants to the Interpretive Center at the Manzanar National Historic Site after the afternoon program. The early return bus will leave Manzanar at 4:30 p.m, returning to Los Angeles at approximately 8:30 p.m.
Those wishing to attend the Manzanar At Dusk program should reserve a spot on the late return bus, which will depart the Interpretive Center at 4:30 p.m. as well, but will then take participants to Lone Pine High School for the MAD program.
The late return bus will depart for Los Angeles immediately following the MAD event, arriving in Los Angeles around midnight.
Bus reservations are now being accepted from members of the general public on a first-come, first-served basis. For further information or to make a reservation, call (323) 662-5102 or send e-mail to 41stpil[email protected] The non-refundable fare is $40 per seat.
Pilgrimage participants are advised bring their own lunch, drinks and snacks as there are no facilities to purchase food at the Manzanar National Historic Site (restaurants and fast food outlets are located in Lone Pine and Independence). Water will be provided at the site.
Both the daytime program and the Manzanar At Dusk event are free and open to the public.
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, call (323) 662-5102, send e-mail to [email protected]tee.org or check their blog at http:// blog.manzanarcommittee.org.