August 2, 2010

Scholarship Recipient: Janice Young reflection on 2010 pilgrimage

Posted in 2010 Minidoka Pilgrimage, Civil Liberties Symposium, Minidoka Pilgrimage, Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 8:29 am by chiyokomartinez

I heard about the Minidoka Pilgrimage last year from a fellow coworker at South Seattle Community College, but was unable to attend. This year I was able to go because, I just recently graduated from school. Since I am a poor college student paying off my loans, I decided to apply for the scholarship that the Minidoka Pilgrimage Committee had to offer. To my surprise, I was awarded the scholarship. This helped me a great deal and took away the financial burden.

During the bus ride, we played ice breaker games to get to know each other. As we got to know each other, folks that were once imprisoned at Minidoka shared their stories while forced to live in the camps. It is fascinating to hear the stories that were being told because each story was different.

Something that was added to the Minidoka Pilgrimage was the Civil Liberties Symposium at Crest Canyon. At the symposium, there were many interesting speakers and performances. Such as, Larry Matsuda, and Grateful Crane Ensemble, the Camp Dance: The Music and the Memories. One person I wanted to mention who I thought was really interesting was Roger Shimomura-when I first saw Mr. Shimomura on stage I thought to myself, “He looked familiar” but, didn’t know where to place him. I got to talking to people- come to find out Roger Shimomura was featured in an art exhibit called “Yellow Terror” that was displayed that the Wing Luke Art Museum. I visited the exhibit and I learned many things through collection and paintings- it was truly an eye opener. I was thrilled to be able to meet Mr. Shimomura in person.

The day to visit Camp Minidoka came- for me I felt mixed emotions. I’ve studied about the temporary concentration camps through textbooks. But to actually go the site where the camp was formally held it was quite over-whelming. During the bus ride to the camp everyone looked anxious as me- people were talking amongst themselves. Our tour guide, Emily Momohara asked those that were imprisoned at Minidoka raise their hands- about ten people did. Emily suggested that we walk with the individuals who raised their hands because they are the ones with the stories. I ended up walking with the Kashino family- Louise told her daughter Debbie that, “it was difficult for her to imagine what was what now; it was all desert before- now it was farming land.” In all honesty, it was hard for me to imagine too. But, being there and listening to all the stories that were being told was really a lot to take in. I took many pictures to educate my family and friends about the Japanese concentration camps. The stories must be kept alive. This is a part history we must not forgive has happened.

I would like to take this time and thank the Minidoka Pilgrimage Committee for selecting me as a scholarship recipient. I learned and seen so many things that weekend- too much to explain every detail on paper or for a blog- it will always be in my heart.


Janice Young is a 2010 Scholarship Recipient to the Minidoka Pilgrimage. She graduated with an Associate of Arts from South Seattle Community College and a Bachelors of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Central Washington University.

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