Manzanar 39th Pilgrimage
It was a very diverse group of about 500 people, pilgrims of varying ages, ethnicities and backgrounds who visited the Manzanar National Historic site, many of whom were participating for the first time. Former internees were joined by their children and grandchildren, curious high school students, and seven busloads of various secular, academic and religious groups.
“I think we’re all here for a good reason, said Hussan Ayloush, executive director of the Southern California branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), speaking on behalf of the gathered crowd, which included over 100 Muslim Americans. The Muslim-American contingent has been growing steadily within the last few years, was the largest in the pilgrimage’s history. Their community has joined the pilgrimage in solidarity after the Japanese American community reached out to them following the September 11th attacks.There was a Manzanar At Dusk program at the Lone Pine High School where there were “break-out” group discussions which included former Manzanar internees, bringing the greater political and sociological themes of internment into focus while making the experience more accessible to younger generations and other people of different cultures. It brought together the complexity of the pilgrimage, emotionally and spiritually which explains why so many people come back every year.
(April 2008 - Reflections on a bus tour to Manzanar, the internment camp of the US Government interning its own citizens during WWII)
By Shakeel Syed
Everything Stops, ‘every-thing” at least for me
Yes, we reached the grounds …
Their humanity was stripped
Here we were, with our concerns,
I wished we would remember to remember the
Long seventy years of agony for them “rewinded”
Barely a moment to pause, reflect … and try,