Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage

 

 

The Japanese and Muslim communities in the Sacramento Valley have been allies for decades in the fight for social justice and civil rights in America. During recent years, xenophobic and demagogic politicians have called for Muslims and refugees to be banned from the U.S., locked up in concentration camps, and spied upon in their mosques. For many Japanese Americans, these threats bring back memories of unjust measures taken by the government against innocent Japanese Americans in the 1930s and 1940s. Since 2005, CAIR has joined the Japanese American Citizens League (Florin JACL) on a 3-day pilgrimage to Manzanar, the site of the WWII concentration camp, in an effort to spread awareness, break down misunderstandings, and build stronger relationships.

This partnership between the Muslim and Japanese American communities goes back over 25 years to the 1990 Gulf War. Japanese American elders urged community groups like the Florin Japanese American Citizens League (Florin JACL) to stand up today for other innocent victims of backlash like they had suffered during WWII.  Since then, the Japanese American and Muslim community have worked closely together on many projects furthering stronger public understandings of Muslim, Arab, Sikh, & South Asian communities, many of whom have been being unfairly targetted and scapegoated due to ignorance and fear.