Vol. 2 Issue 7                                                                                     JULY-AUG. 2021
Manzanar Messenger

Fighting for Civil and Human Rights

This summer marks two critical anniversaries in the struggle for civil and human Rights. The first of these significant dates, in July, commemorates the 40th anniversary of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Interment of Civilians, known also as the CWRIC. These hearings, mandated by Congress, were set up to investigate and review facts on the forced removal, incarceration, and subsequent impact upon the lives of persons of Japanese ancestry who were denied both their freedom and Civil Rights. These hearings set an historical precedent manifested in the Commission’s ultimate outcome regarding the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII, and in the resulting Civil Liberties Act of 1988. The hearings were a milestone for the Japanese American community because, for some, it was the first time they came out and spoke of their experiences of being incarcerated solely because of their ethnicity. Not only was it the first time that our government issued an apology, but it also awarded reparations for the injustices sustained by those who were unjustly incarcerated into American concentration camps. We have included two articles from our 2018 Manzanar Pilgrimage Program along with  Sue Kunitomi Embrey’s testimony at the Commission hearings.

In any meaningful quest for Human Rights, we must also never forget that August marks the somber anniversaries of the first and second droppings of atomic bombs. Seventy-six years ago, civilian populations of Hiroshima, on August 6 and Nagasaki, on August 9, were ravaged by a devastation that stunned humanity. Because of the current pandemic, social-distancing, and self-quarantines, this seventy-sixth anniversary will be noted with online programs. Although fewer in person memorials will occur this year, the horrific destruction of human life and civilian casualties must always be remembered so that it never happens again. 

The American Society of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Survivors will hold the 76th Commemoration Event of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Saturday, August 7, 2021 at 5:00 pm PT online. Bishop Matsumoto of Koyasan Buddhist Temple will be presiding at the Commemoration. Register here.

We welcome your voice!

A Long Time Coming

by Bruce Embrey, Co-Chair Manzanar Committee

The passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 was a milestone of achievement, a triumph of democracy for the Japanese American community in particular and the nation as a whole. An apology, reparations, and acknowledgment of a “grave injustice” came 42 years after the last camp was shuttered. The legislation was far from perfect.  Nevertheless, the recognition that Executive Order 9066 was unlawful and a violation of Constitutional and human rights helped lift the burden of shame from within the community. This passage was the direct result of the rise of political strength of the Japanese American community due to a rise in Congressional political leadership and activism of the Nisei, second generation, and Sansei, third generation. Read the entire article here.

On August 7, 1979, U.S. Senators Daniel Inouye, Spark Matsunaga, and S.I. Hayakawa introduced S.1647 to establish the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC).  On July 31, 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed the bill to create the CWRIC.

Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians Hearings and the Civil Liberties Act of 1988

by Kay Ochi, Kathy Masaoka, and Richard Katsuda, NCRR Co-Chairs 

In the early 1970’s, a movement began seeking redress for the unjust incarceration of the Nikkei community during World War II. The country had experienced the civil rights movement, the anti-Vietnam War movement and movements for Black and Third World Liberation. Inspired by these movements, many of the children of former incarcerees felt that justice needed to be sought for their parents and the rest of the

community. Many groups emerged with the National Coalition for Redress and Reparations (NCRR) and the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) leading the effort nationally.
In 1980, at the urging of the Nikkei legislators and JACL, President Jimmy Carter signed legislation to create the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC). Its mission was to investigate the causes and effects of the wartime incarceration and to recommend remedies. The CWRIC held hearings in 10 cities; over the 20 days of hearings, 750 people testified.
Click here to read the entire article.
Lillian Baker attempts to tear the testimony of 442 RCT veteran Jim Kawaminami away from him during the 1981 federal Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) hearings in Los Angeles. Photo: Unity newspaper
CWRIC Testimony of Sue K. Embrey, 1981
Mr. Commissioner and Honorable Members: My name is Sue Kunitomi Embrey. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. I was evacuated from Los Angeles on May 9, 1942 along with my widowed mother and six brothers and sisters. We were sent to the Manzanar Concentration Camp where my brother, Hideo, was one of the one thousand volunteers. I also represent the Manzanar Committee, a non-profit educational organization... The period I spent in Manzanar was the most traumatic experience of my life.  Click to read Sue's testimony.
Hiroshima Child
I come and stand at every door
But none can hear my silent tread
I knock and yet remain unseen
For I am dead for I am dead

I'm only seven though I died
In Hiroshima long ago
I'm seven now as I was then
When children die they do not grow

My hair was scorched by swirling flame
My eyes grew dim my eyes grew blind

Death came and turned my bones to dust
And that was scattered by the wind

I need no fruit I need no rice
I need no sweets nor even bread
I ask for nothing for myself
For I am dead for I am dead

All that I need is that for peace
You fight today you fight today
So that the children of this world
Can live and grow and laugh and play

by Nazim Hikmet at
A barefoot boy waiting in line and staring ahead at a crematorium after the Nagasaki bombing, with his dead baby brother strapped to his back. Photo by US Marine photographer Joe O’Donnell


Sue Kunitomi Embrey Student Awards Program 2021 Winners
Congratulations To
9th-12th grade Written Category 1st place 
Masako Yang of Stanford Program of Int'l & Cross-Cultural Education
6th - 8th grade Written Category- 1st place  
Monicka Manni of Whitney HS
6th - 8th grade Visual Arts Category - 1st place  
Sara Omura of Whitney HS
PreK Visual Arts Category - 1st place 
Chloe Cho of Playa Vista Elementary
PreK Visual Arts Category - 2nd place 
Brianna Jones of Playa Vista Elementary
PreK Visual Arts Category- 3rd place
Oliver Mizrahi of Playa Vista Elementary

Educators' Corner
Use the genre of graphic novels to engage students in learning American history while also empowering students to create their own  graphic novels.
The Manzanar Messenger will be sending out a special E-Blast in mid-August to announce a digital children's book, Vanessa Unmuted, that is the story of a biracial young girl victimized by anti-Asian hate during the COVID-19 pandemic. A joint publication of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center and the Los Angeles Unified School District Koreatown-Pico Union Community of Schools, the e-book and lesson plans for grades 4-12 will be shared.  Be on the lookout!
Important Historical Dates

July 14 - 16, 1981
Beginning of the Commission  of Wartime Relocation & Internment of Civilians (CWRIC)

Aug 6, 1945
Bombing of Hiroshima
First Atomic Bomb  

August 9, 1945
Bombing of Nagasaki
Natl Archives

August 10, 1988
Passage of the
Civil Liberties Act of 1988

Upcoming Dates & Events

August 7, 2021 @ 5pm PT
American Society of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Survivors' 76th Commemoration Event of Hiroshima-Nagasaki 
Register here

August 14 - 22
Nisei Week

August 28, 2021
Remembering Gila River
Sponsored by AZ chapter of JACL
Hosted by JAMP website

August 29 - September 25, 2021
Tadaima 2021
Registration begins 8/15/21 @ JAMP

Links to Recent Events:

Manzanar Virtual Pilgrimage & MAD
Watch here

Manzanar Pilgrimage E-Program
View here

Book Launch 
Not Yo' Butterfly
Flag Signing
The Journey of the Flag Signing Project
EBay Sale of Camp Artifacts
Japanese American Artifacts
Are NOT your Collectibles
James (Jim) To Memorial
Jim To, longtime Manzanar Committee member and friend, is missed. For those who were not able to join Jim's Memorial, please follow this link. The Manzanar Committee's remembrance of Jim can be found here.

Homemade Rakkyo
Donna Smith Omori

2 bunches green onions, white part only
2 Tbsp salt
2 cups unseasoned rice vinegar
1 cup sugar
3-4 Thai chilies or whatever chilies you like(optional)

In a small pot heat up salt, vinegar, and sugar until sugar dissolves.  Let it cool.  Put onions in a jar with the whole chilies and add rice vinegar.  Leave for a few days in refrigerator until marinated.  Enjoy!
*As told to us by our Grandmothers, only eat 2 Rakkyo a day

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