United to End Racism (UER) at the Tule Lake Pilgrimage

A delegation of Japanese-Heritage RCers’ and allies have been participating in the Tule Lake Pilgrimage* since 2008 under the leadership of Jan Yoshiwara, the International Liberation Reference Person for Japanese Heritage People, and Lois Yoshishige, Area Reference Person of Eugene, Oregon, USA. This Pilgrimage occurs every two years so at this point UER has had increasing connection and influence through five gatherings.

All of UER involvement in the Pilgrimage has included the following: pre-Pilgrimage workshops and conference calls for the delegation, Jan leading part of the opening plenary to teach them how to do a mini session, listening projects throughout the Pilgrimage, Lois’ training of the facilitators who lead the intergenerational dialogue discussion groups**, leading these groups and the debriefing of the facilitators, and Jan’s Introduction to RC Workshop.

Highlights for each year

2008: Eleven RCers, led by Jan Yoshiwara, offered an RC introductory workshop, helped to facilitate intergenerational discussion groups, and shared RC in many ways, beginning on the bus ride to Tule Lake. Jan spoke as part of the welcoming program about listening and its power to heal. She explained how to do a mini-session and had each participant do one minute each way. The UER delegation also trained facilitators for the intergenerational discussion groups.

2010: Because Jan and Lois were part of the planning committee for Tule Lake, they were able to bring RC ideas like acceptance, inclusion, internalized racism, and sharing stories into the pilgrimage. Jan was one of the speakers welcoming the more than three hundred participants &emdash; reminding them of the value and importance of listening well to each other so that they could share stories and heal the hurts of the internment. Once again a mini-session was part of her presentation.

2012: This year a new activity for young people was added. For a couple of hours each day UER members supervised a mural-and-play outdoor activity. We also wore UER/Tule Lake t-shirts in unison which underscored our powerful presence as a team.

2014: After Jan taught all the participants how to do a short mini, the leaders of the Tule Lake Pilgrimage warmly welcomed the whole UER delegation from the stage – asking us all to stand and thanking us for our work with the Pilgrimage and letting people know that we would be organizing the Intergenerational Dialogue groups on the third morning. This is the first time we’ve been so publicly acknowledged; we are more visible than ever.

2016: New things—daily support groups for the whole Pilgrimage, daily gatherings for young people and young adults under 25, and, every UER Team member has more visible roles – some of us are on panels during our UER workshop, more of us are helping to lead trainings for the Intergenerational Dialogue groups.

 

 


*From 1942 - 1946, 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry residing in the US were placed in 10 concentration camps. Tule Lake Camp was one of those camps. Tule Lake Pilgrimage is a biannual meeting of those who were incarcerated and those generations after the internment camps to listen to the stories of those who had been incarcerated and process these experiences.


Last modified: 2017-06-09 10:14:17-07