Minami Tamaki LLP Senior Counsel Dale Minami was one of the featured speakers at the 50th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, which was held the weekend of April 27, 2019, at the Manzanar National Historic Site, approximately 230 miles northeast of Los Angeles.
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. Each year, more than 1,000 people attend the Manzanar Pilgrimage, including students, teachers, community members, clergy and former incarcerees.
The program was emceed by former California State Assemblymember Warren Furutani, one of the founders of the Manzanar Pilgrimage and the Manzanar Committee, and also featured Karen Korematsu and writer/artist traci-kato kiriyama.
From the Manzanar Committee’s Feb. 2019 announcement of the speakers: “We’re so pleased Dale Minami and Karen Korematsu will be speaking this year,” said Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey. “Dale and Karen have played key roles in the long struggle for redress and reparations, as well as the current efforts to challenge the Trump Administration’s Muslim ban and xenophobic anti-immigration policies. Their experience, their message, is what our country needs to hear right now.”
“Let’s remember that 2019 is the 75th anniversary of Korematsu v. United States,” added Embrey. “Let’s remember that not that long ago, our government, the government of the United States, prosecuted and convicted a young man by withholding, altering and falsifying key evidence and then incarcerated him for no other reason than his ancestry. Fred took a stand against the unconstitutional and illegal incarceration of his family, of his community. But even though the law was on his side, a racist and undemocratic ruling prevailed. Let us not forget what can happen when hysterical, unfounded appeals to national security gain sway in our body politic.”
“What we want to project at this year’s Pilgrimage is that our history, our experience, is a cautionary story that our country must take to heart. We cannot stand by and allow this administration’s undemocratic, racist immigration policies to go unchallenged and that is exactly what Karen and Dale have been doing by fighting in the courts and in the realm of public opinion. They are two of the most effective leaders linking our community’s experience with the struggles against the anti-immigrant hysteria and Islamophobia of the Trump Administration, so really, we couldn’t ask for better speakers.”
Photos and video by Manzanar Committee (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Video filmed by Cory Shiozaki.