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49th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage Set for April 28

By February 9, 2018March 6th, 2018No Comments

Pilgrimage participants are shown gathered around the Manzanar cemetery monument for the interfaith service during the 48th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage on April 29, 2017. (Photo: Mark Kirchner/Manzanar Committee)

This year’s gathering will pay homage to the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.

LOS ANGELES — The 49th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, sponsored by the Manzanar Committee, is scheduled for April 28 at the Manzanar National Historic Site.

This year’s pilgrimage will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which provided redress and reparations for the survivors of America’s World War II concentration camps and other confinement sites, in which more than 110,000 Japanese Americans and their immigrant parents were unjustly incarcerated during World War II.

Cultural performances will begin at 11:30 a.m. PDT, while the main portion of the program begins at noon.

Each year, more than 1,000 people from all walks of life — including students, teachers, community members, clergy and former incarcerees — attend the pilgrimage at the Manzanar National Historic Site, located on U.S. Highway 395 in California’s Owens Valley, between the towns of Lone Pine and Independence, approximately 230 miles north of Los Angeles.

Planning is also under way for the afternoon event as well as the Manzanar at Dusk program, which is scheduled from 5-8 p.m. that same evening at Lone Pine High School, approximately eight miles south of MNHS.

Manzanar at Dusk is co-sponsored by the Nikkei Student Unions at California State University, Long Beach; California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; the University of California, Los Angeles; and the University of California, San Diego.

Through a creative presentation, small group discussions and an open mic session, Manzanar at Dusk participants will have the opportunity to learn about the experiences of those incarcerated in the camps. Participants will also be able to interact with former incarcerees in attendance to hear their personal stories, share their own experiences and discuss the relevance of the concentration camp experience to present-day events and issues.

Pilgrimage participants are advised to bring their own lunch, drinks and snacks, as there are no facilities to purchase food at the MNHS (restaurants and fast-food outlets are located in Lone Pine and Independence, which are nearby). Water will be provided at the site.

Those who wish to participate in the traditional flower offering during the interfaith service are advised to bring their own flowers.

Pilgrimage participants should also be aware of the fact that weather in the Owens Valley can be unpredictable and can change rapidly. The Manzanar Committee advises participants to wear a hat, use sunscreen (ultraviolet light is not affected by clouds and is more intense at higher elevations) and be prepared for any kind of weather, including high winds, heat, cold and rain.

Further details about the 49th Annual Pilgrimage and the Manzanar at Dusk program will be announced at a later date.

The Manzanar Committee has also announced that bus transportation to the pilgrimage will be available from Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo and Gardena.

The Little Tokyo bus, sponsored by the Manzanar Committee, will depart at 7 a.m., arriving at the pilgrimage at approximately 11:30 a.m. Participants will be taken to the visitors center at the MNHS following the afternoon program. The bus should arrive back in Los Angeles at approximately 8:30 p.m.

Reservations for the Little Tokyo bus will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. The nonrefundable fare is $40 per seat, $20 for students (proof of student status required). Complimentary fares are available for those who were incarcerated at any of the former American concentration camps or other confinement sites during World War II.

The Gardena bus is sponsored by the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute. Information to the Manzanar Pilgrimage can be found on the GVJCI website ( or by calling (310) 324-6611.

Anyone wishing to attend the Manzanar at Dusk program that evening should make other transportation arrangements.

Both the Manzanar Pilgrimage and the Manzanar at Dusk programs are free and open to the public. For more information, or to reserve a seat on the bus departing from Little Tokyo, call (323) 662-5102 or email