In April 2012, the Only What We Can Carry Project at Global Source Education led our fourth delegation of Bainbridge Islanders to the Manzanar National Historic Site, in Independence, CA. This year, we invited current and former Bainbridge Island residents who were of middle and high school age to retrace their historic 1942 journey of Bainbridge Island Japanese Americans into exile at the former Manzanar concentration camp. This site is currently preserved and managed by the National Park Service.
Former Manzanar internees included Matsue Nishimori Watanabe and Victor Takemoto who were in 9th grade in 1942, along with Yaeko Sakai Yoshihara, Yuri Kojima, and Lillian Sakuma Aoyama, who were all in 7th grade when they were incarcerated with their families at Manzanar. We were also joined by former Bainbridge residents Ted, Yo and Martha Kitayama, three siblings who were 9, 12, and 16 in 1942. Mo Kitayama Nakata also brought her daughter Sheryl along for this journey of discovery.
We invited a team from Wilkes Elementary School made up of Principal Sheryl Belt and 4th grade teacher, Mary Madison, to join our delegation. Also accompanying the delegation were Bainbridge community leaders, Clarence Moriwaki and Vern Nakata, whose grandparents, parents and siblings were incarcerated at Manzanar.
We were also accompanied by local videographer, Brenda Berry and her colleague Scott Rouse, who filmed our journey to Manzanar for an historical record and educational tool for this and future generations. Our delegation was led by the team of OWWCC Co-Directors Jon Garfunkel and Katy Curtis, along with community educators Mary Woodward, daughter of Walt and Millie Woodward, former Bainbridge Review owner/editors and namesakes of Woodward Middle School, and Lilly Kodama, who was 7 years old when her family left for Manzanar.