Tule Lake Committee Announces Dates for Pilgrimage

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Barbed wire is a reminder of a history of injustice at Tule Lake. (MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo)

The Tule Lake Committee announced that the 2018 Tule Lake pilgrimage, “Preserving Our Hallowed Ground,” is scheduled from June 29 through July 2.

Pilgrimage information and registration forms will be posted on Feb. 19 at www.tulelake.org.

“This year, given the urgent need to protect what remains of our sacred place of remembrance, we hope to engage those who share our passion for preserving the Tule Lake segregation center site,” says pilgrimage chair Hiroshi Shimizu.

Tule Lake’s preservation is threatened by the FAA’s and Modoc County’s efforts to build a 3-mile-long, 8-foot-high fence around the rural airport that occupies two-thirds of the historic site.

“As the only segregation center, Tule Lake is unique among the 10 WRA (War Relocation Authority) concentration camps,” Shimizu says. “It tells an important civil rights story about Japanese Americans who resisted and said ‘no’ to America’s injustice, a story that is so significant in today’s political climate. This is an American story of protest against injustice, and it should be cherished, not bulldozed, fenced off and erased.”

Over the past two decades, the Tule Lake Committee has devoted itself to the recognition and preservation of the Tule Lake Segregation Center story. Thanks to community generosity and government grants, the TLC raised nearly $1 million to restore historic structures that contribute to Tule Lake’s interpretation, including planning work for the jail restoration project, which is now “shovel-ready.”

In two legal challenges, the TLC fought the construction of the fence, which is says would desecrate the site, and is working toward settlement, determining how to protect and preserve the site and ensure access for future generations.

One pilgrimage registration forms are posted on the website, they should be completed and mailed in immediately. Payment is by check only. The standard registration fee is $500 general, $350 for students or those on fixed incomes. If you are a survivor of incarceration at Tule Lake, 80 years of age or older, the fee is $250. Grants are available to assist with the registration fee.

If you lack Internet access and need registration forms mailed to you via USPS, or if you want more information, contact Hiroshi Shimizu at (415) 566-2279 or (415) 317-2686 (cell) or email [email protected]

The registration fee is all-inclusive and covers charter bus transportation, lodging, meals and all activities during the four-day pilgrimage. Given the growing interest in the pilgrimage, registration is expected to close very quickly. To avoid disappointment, complete your registration as soon as possible.

Pilgrimage Details

Pilgrimage participants travel together in deluxe, chartered buses that depart from San Francisco, Berkeley, San Jose, Union City, Sacramento, Seattle and Portland.

Accommodations are dormitory rooms at the Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls. There are two housing options. Standard double-occupancy rooms are included in the registration fee. Accommodations in the four-bedroom/four-person air-conditioned suites will cost $50 extra per person.

The suites are further from the main activity building and have no elevators. A limited number of ground-level suites are handicapped-accessible. If you wish for a room in a suite, write a separate check to cover the extra $50 per person.

Activities include a tour of the concentration camp site and a memorial service. Intergenerational discussion groups and open forums provide an occasion to learn, share experiences and help heal the multi-generational wounds of the incarceration. The final night’s closing cultural program is open to the public and will be held at the Ross Ragland Theater in downtown Klamath Falls.

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