Tule Lake 2018

This summer a United to End Racism (UER) team participated, with hundreds of other Japanese Americans (and non-Japanese American family members and friends), in the 2018 Tule Lake Pilgrimage in Klamath Falls, Oregon, and Tule Lake, California (USA). This biennial pilgrimage commemorates the unique experience of over 18,000 people of Japanese ancestry who were imprisoned in the Tule Lake Segregation Center during World War II. Many of those in Tule Lake were deemed disloyal by the U.S. government and deliberately segregated from the other 100,000 people of Japanese ancestry imprisoned in other concentration camps.

It was the sixth time a UER team had gone on the pilgrimage. For more than a decade we have added resource to the project. We have helped to open space within it for people to tell what happened to them during the war and its effects on their families, to laugh and cry together, to ask questions, and to tell and hear stories about the incarceration that they have never had the chance to tell, hear, or take in [absorb] before.

Our contributions have grown as our work has been recognized and fully appreciated. This year Jan Yoshiwara, the leader of our team, wrote to us, “We are all over the pilgrimage program this year, more than ever before. We have built such a strong reputation that the Tule Lake committee is asking us to handle additional things that they want to go well.”

This year our line-up [what we did] included the following:

  • Organizing Intergenerational Dialogue groups, including contacting elders to serve as resource people and training discussion facilitators
  • Leading Intergenerational Dialogue groups and a debriefing session
  • Leading two UER workshops: Healing from Racism and the Effects of Incarceration at Tule Lake and a workshop for young people and young adults
  • Holding evening support groups or “listening spaces” for anyone wanting to process the day’s events
  • Supporting a workshop led by representatives of the Modoc tribe
  • Supporting an activists’ workshop
  • Leading a protest action

The team was led again by Jan Yoshiwara. The others of us were Lois Yoshishige, Betsy Hasegawa, Sue Yoshiwara, Karen Young, Ashley Uyeda, Mike Ishii, Becca Asaki, Kenso Michisaki, Carolyn Kameya, and me. On the team but not at the pilgrimage was Alix Mariko Webb. A special thank you to Hisami Yoshida, Scot Barg, Tom Tan, and many other allies extraordinaire across the country.

Keith Osajima

Redlands, California, USA

Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion lists for RC Community members, for leaders of wide world change, and for RC Community members involved in eliminating racism

(Present Time 193, October 2018)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00