Vol. 2 Issue 1                                                                                       January 2021

Manzanar Messenger

Akemashite Omedetō Gozaimasu!
Happy New Year!

As we celebrate this New Year, even in the midst of this horrific pandemic, we are filled with hope and optimism about the future. Our community and our country face enormous challenges to be sure, but we must remind ourselves how our families endured, struggled, and persevered during camp and the so-called "resettlement." Our Ojiisans, Obaasans, and our community faced systematic state violence and systemic racism for decades before and after camp. Simply surviving after camp and striving to make up for those "lost years" took its toll, but our community, once reestablished, sought and won redress from our country.
One thing we all should be able to agree on is that it was the broader Civil Rights Movement, the drive to end Jim Crow and anti-Black racism that both inspired and led the way for our community to rally and win the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. To be sure, the legislative support our community received from the Congressional Black Caucus among others was decisive. It's essential that we go back and remember how the amazingly progressive vision of leaders like the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. is what galvanized just minded people and other communities of color. It is in this spirit that we reprint one of Dr. King's most important and prescient speeches. In this issue of Manzanar Messenger we also highlight several stories from our history which we believe hold lessons for our work today.  
We hope you are inspired by our articles and stories.  Please let us know what you think.

We welcome your voice!

Towards a More Democratic Future
At the end of World War II, our community was at a crossroads. Faced with the monumental task of rebuilding lives after the so-called "resettlement," Japanese Americans had to navigate relating to a country that had just locked them away for no other reason than simply looking like the enemy. We knew firsthand the limitations of our constitutional democracy. We knew what American style racism looked like. It was laid bare by the forced removal and 'camp'.

To read the rest of the article, click here
To hear Dr King's speech, click here
To read the entire text of Dr. King's speech, click here


Rose Ochi Memoriam

The Manzanar Committee mourns the passing of former Manzanar Committee member Takayo Rose Matsui Ochi on December 13, just two days before she would have turned 82 years old.

Ochi, a native of East Los Angeles, was three years old when she, along with her parents and three siblings, were among over 120,000 West Coast Japanese/Japanese Americans, who were unjustly incarcerated during World War II. The Matsui family was incarcerated at the temporary detention center at the Santa Anita race track in Arcadia, California, before being shipped east to the American concentration camp at Rohwer, Arkansas.

Click to read the entire Memoriam

52nd Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage and Manzanar At Dusk to be held Online, April 24, 2021
Upholding Democracy and Constitutional Rights for All: No More Concentration Camps, is the theme for the 52nd Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, which will be held online on Saturday, April 24, 2021, at 12:00 PM.
The 2021 Manzanar At Dusk program will also be held online in the hours following the 52nd Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage. 
here to read the entire press release

Photo by Gann Matsuda/Manzanar

Manzanar Committee Lauds Selection of Rep Debra Haaland as Nominee for Secretary of the Interior

The following is an official statement by the Manzanar Committee. 
President-elect Joe Biden has nominated Representative Debra Haaland (D-New Mexico) to serve as the next Secretary of the Interior. The Japanese American community, especially all of us who are actively working to keep the story of “camp” and the forced removal alive should clearly support this historic nomination.
Please click here to read the endorsement

Picture: Photo courtesy of the office of Rep. Haaland via Flickr.

Sue Kunitomi Embrey Student Awards Program

The Manzanar Committee is proud to announce the 6th Annual Sue Kunitomi Embrey Student Awards Program.  The information packet and application will be on the Manzanar Committee website and at the link below.  Although many students are still learning remotely, we are available to assist all students who are interested in participating in the written, visual arts, or media/electronics categories.  We are also available to meet with any teacher or community member who want to support a K-12 student in participating. There are many resources available and we encourage all students K-12 to participate! 

Please click here for more info on the program

Euphemisms, Definitions, and Preferred Terminology
Application for Individual Student Project
Application for Group Student Project

Leslie Aguilar

The recipient of the First Annual Arnold Maeda Manzanar Pilgrimage Grant is Leslie Aguilar.  As the recipient of the grant, Ms. Aguilar will be working with the Manzanar Committee on planning and creating the 2021 Virtual Manzanar Pilgrimage.  Her essay is below.
I was thirteen years old when I went on a school trip to the Manzanar National Historic Site in 2010.  Ten years have passed by and in all of my years in school, that was the only time I learned about the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.  I vividly remember seeing photographs of young children, who were about the same age as me, and I couldn't help but wonder what it was like growing up behind barbed wires.  I remember at such a young age I always wondered why we never heard about Manzanar and how U.S. history simply skipped over dark but critical chapters in history.
Please click here to read the rest of her essay.
From 50 Objects
In 1933, Takato Hamai suffered a left hip infection that put him in and out of surgery, in a plaster cast and made the 35-year-old bedridden for years in San Francisco. An operation shortened the leg by an inch-and-a-half. In 1941, he had finally healed when a car accident broke his femur in the same leg. 
But this condition did not exclude him from being incarcerated as a possible enemy saboteur. Everyone was taken away under Roosevelt’s presidential order.
1 ”If you could walk, even with crutches, you were imprisoned.” 

Click here to read the rest of Takato Hamai's story
Picture  from the 
National Japanese American Historical Society, San Francisco Collection
Educators' Corner
In honor of Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution on January 30th, we encourage teachers and students to visit the Fred Korematsu Institute      Here you will find a curriculum toolkit that is provided free to educators, along with excepts from DVDs and a PSA asking students, "What would you do?"
Sue Kunitomi Embrey
Student Awards Program Winner

American Concentration Camps
by Edmond Situ
1st Place   4th grade  Written Category
What is an American Concentration Camp?  It is a camp that was used to imprison Japanaese Americans during World War II.  This happened when President Frankling D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942.  This allowed the government to remove Japanese Americans from their homes and put them into American concentration camps.
Please click here to read the rest of his essay
In Memoriam
Gary Miyatake
July 1951 - December 2020

The Manzanar Messenger just learned the sad news of the passing of Gary Miyatake. The Manzanar Committee would like to express their deepest condolences to the Miyatake Family
Important Historical Dates
January 1, 1913
California passes the Alien Land Law, forbidding "all aliens ineligible for citizenship" from owning land.

January 1, 1924
Congress passes the Immigration Act of 1924 effectively ending all Japanese immigration to the U.S.

January 18, 2021
Martin Luther King Jr Day  
National Holiday

January 30, 2021
Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution

Upcoming Dates & Events

January 3, 2021 at 1pm
Kotohajime Hatu-Niji
Free Virtual event
Click JACCC to register

January 3-8, 2021

2021 Oshogatsu Virtual Family Festival
here to learn more

Feburary 13, 2021
Virtual DOR  LA

New Year's Oshogatsu Ryori
Japanese celebrate the New Year by eating Osechi Ryori, traditional Japanese New Year food packed in lacquered boxes along with this special mochi soup called Ozoni. The two basic types of Ozoni are:  
A clear miso soup which is flavored with bonito based dashi and soy sauce which is served in the Kanto, Chugoku, and Kyushu regions
A white miso added to the kombu base dashi soup which is served in the Kansai and Shikoku regions
We invite you to watch an Ozoni cooking demonstration by Jordan Nakamura  & Aaron Mochizuki of Hanai Brothers Courtesy of  JAMP Holiday Special 
Picture from
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