54th Manzanar Pilgrimage, 2023

First Pilgrimage to Manzanar since the beginning of the Pandemic. Nearly 1/3 were visiting the Manzanar concentration camp site for the first time.

Transcript of Keynote Speech by Manzanar Committee Chairperson,
Bruce Embrey

We chose our theme: Generational struggles for Democracy because we, like so many others, are concerned about the threats to our democratic way of life. We believe America faces a real threat, an existential threat to our constitutional rights.

We also chose this theme because we know resistance has been a
constant in our nation’s history. We know for generations, long before the founding of our Republic, people have fought for freedom whether it was indigenous people fighting settler colonialism, slave rebellions, the civil rights movement of the 1960s to our decades long struggle for redress and reparations.

As we worry about the future of our country we know we stand on the shoulders of giants, leaders who gave their all for our community. Today we honor two such leaders, Jim Matsuoka, a courageous political activist and Rev. Alfred Tsuyuki, a popular religious leader and Shinto priest, who opened our interfaith ceremony each year with a Shinto purification ceremony. Two men who stood up for and devoted their lives to our community.

While this is our 54th Pilgrimage, we are continuing a tradition dating back to 1946, when the Buddhist minister Rev. Maeda led the first pilgrimage to Manzanar. So, this is, in fact, the 77th annual pilgrimage to Manzanar.

In 1946 they gathered here to pray and reflect on our history, just as we do today, before the Ireito.

Manzanar Committee photo of Ireito

The Ireito has become the most iconic figure of Manzanar and was
dedicated in ‘43 in the aftermath of one of the most troubling times in Manzanar. So, from its inception it was designed to console the souls of our families. It was seen by the Rev. Nagatomi, the Buddhist priest of Manzanar, to be a unifying symbol, and we believe it continues to be.

The Ireito has survived the wind and sands for 80 years. It has survived bullets and shotgun blasts from those filled with hate. Yet, this beautiful cemetery monument, like our community, remains steadfast, unbowed and unbroken.

Manzanar has another iconic feature which we consider a monument. It is the bronze plaque on the walkway leading to the interpretive center. It too has endured the elements and survived the hate that tried to erase its message with bullets, hatchets and chisels.

1973 Plaque at Manzanar

Dedicated at the 1973 Pilgrimage, this plaque, declaring Manzanar a State Historic Landmark, was the first of its kind. The first time any confinement site was recognized by our government. It was the first time the people who had lived behind barbed wire analyzed and debated what happened to them during WWII. The newly formed Manzanar Committee led by survivors of camp including my mother, Jim Matsuoka, and Rex Takahashi crafted the words on the plaque. The words are forceful and honest.

Concentration camp, racism and economic exploitation. They declared America’s concentration camps violated every principle of a democracy. They knew the term “concentration camp” is reserved for sites of the most serious human rights abuses, but they still declared that Manzanar, and all the other camps were not just places where their constitutional rights were stripped away, but were concentration camps where their human rights were violated and abused.

This bronze plaque, set in stone 50 years ago this month by the renowned Catholic stone mason Ryozo Kado, the very same stone mason who crafted the beautiful ireito, calls on us to remember what will happen when racism and economic greed are allowed to override our constitutional rights.

While the words on the plaque are about Manzanar, we know our history is but one part of America’s tortuous path towards democracy.

The survivors of Manzanar knew from direct experience that white supremacy is woven into the fabric of America, but they also knew that we can win justice.

We believe, as Jim Matsuoka did, there is no better place than Manzanar to gather and demonstrate our common bonds. This is why today the Manzanar Committee reaffirms its support for the struggles of indigenous people for land and treaty rights and wholeheartedly endorses reparations for the Black community.

We must embrace the vision and the courage of Jim Matsuoka, Rev.
Tsuyuki, Ryozo Kado and my mother Sue Kunitomi Embrey as we work for social justice. We must for the simple reason that fundamental principles are at stake just as they were in 1942.

This is the legacy of Manzanar, the legacy we have inherited. We must leave this legacy for future generations, so all people of every color and creed, can learn from the past in order to build a more democratic future.


-Bruce Embrey, April 29, 2023

For more information about the Manazanar Piligrimage and work of the Manzanar Committee, visit their website, follow their Instagram account and YouTube Channel

Manzanar Committee


The Cause of Single-Payer Healthcare for All is a Subset of the Fight to Win Full Equality

Watch this video addressing Black inequality in U.S. healthcare

We will never win major healthcare reform without addressing healthcare inequality. There will be no victory without the engagement and empowerment of communities that suffer from actual existing healthcare disparities in the U.S.

Event @naomi, Baba Akili, and Sheila Bates of BLM-LA sponsored by

More information about CalCare and AB1690:

Anti-Asian Violence

Three Pilipino Campaigns for Justice in California

Two cases of anti-Asian violence and one of police murder of a Pilipino veteran

Progressive Asian Network for Action, in conjunction with Neighborhood Safety Companions, supports these campaigns for justice and encourages you to do the same today:

Justice for the Roques

Justice for the Arriolas

Justice for Angelo Quinto

Anti-Asian Violence

PANA endorses AB 360 to ban the term “Excited Delirium” from being used as a cause of death

‘Excited delirium’ theory used in Antioch death of Angelo Quinto is racist and unscientific. Support the campaign to win AB 360!

Mar 18, 2023
Asm. Gipson presenting AB360 – Excited Delirium, and Cassandra Quinto-Collins is the witness. AB 360, passed the Public Safety Committee with bipartisan support and no opposition! This bill aims to ban the term “Excited Delirium” from being used as a cause of death.

The American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, World Health Organization, Physicians for Human Rights, have all determined that the term used to justify police killings of civilians is not scientific.

Yet, public agencies continue to use the term to absolve police from accountability when they murder civilians without just cause, “including in the Contra Costa County Coroner’s conclusion that Angelo Quinto, 30, died of “excited delirium” on Dec. 23, 2020, despite the fact that police knelt on his back for five minutes.

Research from Physicians for Human Rights (PHR)

PHR Executive Summary, March 2, 2022

On December 23, 2020, Bella Quinto-Collins called 911, seeking help for her 30-year-old brother, Angelo Quinto, who was agitated and exhibiting signs of a mental health crisis at their home in Antioch, California. When two police officers arrived, they pulled Quinto from his mother’s arms onto the floor. At least twice, Quinto’s mother, Cassandra Quinto-Collins, heard him say to the officers, “Please don’t kill me.” Bella and Cassandra then watched in disbelief and horror as the two officers knelt on Quinto’s back for five minutes until he stopped breathing. Three days later, Quinto died in the hospital.[1]

It was not until August 2021 that the family learned the official determination of cause of death: a forensic pathologist testified during a coroner’s inquest that Quinto died from “excited delirium syndrome.”[2]

Angelo Quinto, a Filipino-American Navy veteran, is one of many people, disproportionately people of color, whose deaths at the hands of police have been attributed to “excited delirium” rather than to the conduct of law enforcement officers. In recent years, others have included Manuel Ellis, Zachary Bear Heels, Elijah McClain, Natasha McKenna, and Daniel Prude.[3] “Excited delirium” even emerged as a defense for the officers who killed George Floyd in 2020.[4]

An Austin-American Statesman investigation into each non-shooting death of a person in police custody in Texas from 2005 to 2017 found that more than one in six of these deaths (of 289 total) were attributed to “excited delirium.”[5] A January 2020 Florida Today report found that of 85 deaths attributed to “excited delirium” by Florida medical examiners since 2010, at least 62 percent involved the use of force by law enforcement.[6] A Berkeley professor of law and bioethics conducted a search of these two news databases and three others from 2010 to 2020 and found that of 166 reported deaths in police custody from possible “excited delirium,” Black people made up 43.3 percent and Black and Latinx people together made up at least 56 percent.[7]

For more information about the campaign to win justice for Angelo Quinto:

Track the status of AB 360:

PHR Endnotes:

[1] Interview with Robert Collins, Bella Quinto-Collins, and Cassandra Quinto-Collins, Oct. 29, 2021. See also, John L. Burris, Ayana C. Curry, Ben Nisenbaum, Dewitt M. Lacy, James A. Cook, Kenneth Chike Odiwe, and Tonia Robinson, Law Offices of John L. Burris, “RE: Request for Endorsed Copy Verifying Administrative Claim Received – Law Offices of John L. Burris,” Feb. 18, 2021,; Jacey Fortin, “California Man Died after Police Knelt on Him for 5 Minutes, Family Says,” New York Times, Feb. 25, 2021,; Claire Wang, “The Filipino American Family behind Calif.’s New Police Reform Laws Speaks Out,” NBC News, Oct. 15, 2021,

[2] Nate Gartrell and Rick Hurd, “Death of Angelo Quinto, Navy Vet Who Died after Struggle with Antioch Cops, Blamed on ‘Excited Delirium,’” The Mercury News, Aug. 20, 2021,

[3] Stacia Glenn, “‘Can’t breathe’: Tacoma police restraint of Manuel Ellis caused his death, medical examiner reports,” Seattle Times, Jun. 3, 2020,; “Family rallies for man killed in 2017 Omaha police struggle,” Associated Press, Jun. 6, 2021,; Anica Padilla, “‘Excited Delirium’: Elijah McClain’s Mother Talks To ’60 Minutes’ About Use Of Ketamine To Sedate Suspects,” CBS Denver, Dec. 14, 2020; Justin Jouvenal, “‘Excited delirium’ cited in dozens of deaths in police custody. Is it real or a cover for brutality?” Washington Post, May 6, 2015,; Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw and Andrea J. Ritchie, Say Her Name: Resisting Police Brutality Among Black Women (New York: African American Policy Forum, 2015); Lisette Voytko, “Daniel Prude’s Autopsy Report Says ‘Excited Delirium,’ A Controversial Diagnosis, Contributed To His Death,” Forbes, Dec. 3, 2020,

[4] Alysia Santo, “As George Floyd Died, Officer Wondered About ‘Excited Delirium,’” The Marshall Project, Jun. 4, 2020,; Steve Karnowski, “EXPLAINER: Why ‘excited delirium’ came up at Chauvin trial?” Associated Press, Apr. 19, 2021,; Ja’han Jones, “3 ex-cops charged in George Floyd’s death try to blame ‘excited delirium’ as the cause,” MSNBC, Jan. 28, 2022,

[5] Eric Dexheimer and Jeremy Schwartz, “In fatal struggles with police, a controversial killer is often blamed,” Austin-American Statesman, May 27, 2017,

[6] Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon, “Excited delirium: Rare and deadly syndrome or a condition to excuse deaths by police?” Florida Today, Oct. 24, 2019,

[7] Osagie K. Obasogie, “Excited Delirium and Police Use of Force,” Virginia Law Review vol. 107, no. 8 (Dec. 2021),


Support Apache Stronghold Efforts to Save Oak Flat

PANA Endorses Efforts to Protect Oak Flat

Since time immemorial, Western Apaches have come to Oak Flat for their most important and longstanding religious ceremonies that cannot take place anywhere else. The sacred site is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been protected from mining and other destructive practices for decades. In 2014, however, the government ordered Oak Flat to be sold to Resolution Copper, a foreign-owned mining company that plans to turn the site into a two-mile-wide and 1,100-foot-deep crater. Apache Stronghold—a coalition of Apaches, tribal leaders, faith leaders, the National Congress of American Indians, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and grassroots organizations—sued the federal government to halt the demolition of Oak Flat.

WASHINGTON —On Thursday, November 17, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decided it would rehear Apache Stronghold v. United States after ruling earlier this year that a private mine can proceed with operations while a lawsuit is pending.

The Apache Stronghold is arguing that efforts to develop an underground copper mine in the Tonto National Forest will destroy Oak Flat, a site considered to be sacred by the Apache and other tribes. 

“Apache have gathered at Oak Flat to connect with our Creator for millennia, and we want to continue this sacred tradition,” Dr. Wendsler Nosie, Sr. of Apache Stronghold, said in a statement. “The government protects historical churches and other important religious landmarks, and our site deserves no less protection. We are glad the Ninth Circuit is going to take a closer look at this decision, and we hope it will do the right thing and protect Oak Flat.” 

Oak Flat is recognized in the National Register of Historic Places, and its religious significance has been compared to that of Mount Sinai or St. Peter’s Basilica. 



Tell the Biden Administration Not to Bring Back Trump’s Asylum Ban


The Biden administration is taking comments from the public about its plan to bring back an asylum ban – a new version of one of the most anti-asylum seeker policies of the Trump era. 

Please use our form to submit a comment telling them how this policy will hurt asylum seekers. To make sure your comment is counted and considered, please edit our pre-drafted suggestion to make it unique. Anyone regardless of immigration status may submit a comment, but comments must be submitted in English. Please note that comments submitted through this form will be placed into the public record.

While the administration has attempted to distinguish its asylum ban from Trump’s policies, it still has the same effect: denying asylum seekers the protection they need in the United States. The rule they are proposing would ban many refugees from asylum protection in the United States  based on their manner of entry into the United States and transit through other countries.

This asylum ban, like Trump’s, will separate families and lead to the return of asylum seekers to harm and possible death. It will disproportionately harm Black, Brown, and Indigenous asylum seekers requesting safety at the U.S. southern border – who often cannot afford or access a visa to arrive in the U.S. by plane and instead trek across multiple countries to arrive at the border. While the Trump asylum ban was in effect, immigration court asylum denial rates for these groups greatly increased. Indigenous women and girls, many of whom will likely be barred by the rule, are at heightened risk for sex and human trafficking, extortion, and violence due to the continued erasure of their Indigenous identities, language exclusion, and ongoing discrimination they face throughout their journeys. 

Our U.S. laws and treaties protect asylum seekers and prohibit their return to persecution and torture. Our laws also explicitly guard an asylum seeker’s right to seek protection regardless of how they arrive in the United States. The rule would unlawfully deny protection to asylum seekers and require them to seek asylum in countries that do not have functional asylum systems and where they may still be in harm’s way.  

The administration is asking the public what we think about this rule and will consider our comments before issuing the final version. Please add your voice to tell them how this rule will harm asylum seekers. 

The government is required to review and respond to comments in writing in the Federal Register. For example, this rule published in September contains nearly 100 pages of the government’s anonymized summarizations and responses to comments submitted by the public, including descriptions of where they made changes to the rule in response to public comments. To make sure the government counts and considers your comment, please edit our pre-drafted suggestion to make it unique – duplicate comments will otherwise be lumped together and responded to as one. 

Please add your comment to tell them how this rule will harm asylum seekers before the comment period closes on March 27. 

The organizations sponsoring this campaign will not be adding email addresses submitted through the form to any mailing lists.


The Fight for Healthcare-for-All in CA Continues

A new “CalCare” spot bill,
AB 1690, will be introduced by
CA Assemblymember Ash Kalra

AB1690 - undocumented workers

PANA will once again join ground-game forces to pressure legislators to advance this “single-payer” bill to the Governor’s desk in 2024.

Fierce, dogged organizing by nurses and our community allies is the reason why CalCare advanced through the Assembly Health and Appropriations committees last session and why CalCare is on the table again,” said Puneet Maharaj, California Nurses Association’s government relations director. “The billion-dollar insurance industry will come forward with their lies, complaints, and army of lobbyists but nurses see every day why Californians desperately need CalCare. We have the facts and the people behind us. In partnership with Assemblymember Kalra, who has shown his dedication to CalCare, we’re ready to take on corporations who stand against health justice

According to polling published in October 2021, 65% of Californians with low-incomes support the establishment of a “single-payer” health care system that provides comprehensive care for all.

PANA will advocate that such a major reform measure should insure everyone in the state, regardless of employment or immigration status and explicitly addresses healthcare inequality that is integral to the current for-profit only system.

Build grassroots power to win AB 1690

The California Nurses Association (CNA), affiliated with National Nurses United, has played a key role in keeping the fight for CalCare alive, along with many grass-roots, “ground game” organizations such as PANA and Save Our Seniors Network and the many voters who delivered a CA Presidential Primary victory to Senator Bernie Sanders in 2020. The union of 100,000 registered nurses, in partnership with Kalra, plans to continue growing support for this effort, both inside and outside of the state’s capitol.

“California nurses are renewing our fight to put health care back in the hands of people, not the insurance companies hunting for their next buck,” said California Nurses Association President Sandy Reding. “With an even larger Democratic supermajority this session, there are no excuses for Sacramento to deny Californians guaranteed health care through CalCare. Nurses look forward to working with Assemblymember Kalra to build support for a single-payer health care system that puts patients above profits.”

As we have in previous rounds of this ongoing fight, PANA members will continue to educate members of various Asian American and Pacific Islander communities about the need to support this important struggle which will impact all families. To win this fight to defeat the for-profit interests of the powerful healthcare insurers and big pharmaceutical industry, we must engage broader numbers of people to address existing inequalities in the healthcare system. AB 1690, must address the specific cultural and linguistic needs of these communities, the majority of whom are immigrant and working-class.

Please join us in this fight.

Principles of CalCare

Political Power

PANA Endorses AD52 People’s Action ADEMS Slate

Assembly District Election Meetings (ADEMs) are biannual caucuses where each Assembly District elects fourteen delegates to represent their district in the State Democratic Party Conventions and Executive Meetings. These delegates make up roughly one-third of the 3300 total Democratic Party Delegates and are supposed to represent their community’s interests.

Voting progressives into the State Party is an important way to make change from inside the party. Delegates vote on party leadership, the party platform, and local/statewide endorsements. 

In AD52, we need working people who are members of the community to represent our interests and bring new and fresh voices to the party. This is why PANA endorses this slate and encourages you to vote for these progressives.


Voting instructions:

AD 52 People's Action Slate
AD52 People's Action Platform
Influence CADEM
Political Power

PANA Endorses AD41 People’s Action ADEMs Slate

AD41 People's Action Slate
AD41 Policy Platform

PANA members engage in Assembly Delegate representative elections in an attempt to influence the California Democratic Party leadership composition, rules and platform, every two years. These delegates vote on Party legislative positions and who and what gets Party endorsements at the state level for the platform. Two-thirds of the CA Democratic Party votes are reserved for elected and party officials and their appointees. 1/3 of the votes are open to relatively democratic elections.

Progressive ADEMS push the CA Democratic Party to address the majority of peoples’ needs vs. the greed of corporations that work to buy off Party leadership and elected officials to server their private interests. Even while lacking critical political power, Progressive ADEMS can help to bring transparency and accountability to the electoral political process.

For more information about the AD 41 People’s Action Slate:

Request your ballot and vote in the ADEMs elections!

The California Democratic Party Assembly District Elections Meeting (“ADEM”) shall be held in each of the 80 Assembly Districts in January of each odd-numbered year in order to elect representatives as (“Assembly District delegates”) or (“ADDs”) to the California Democratic Party Democratic State Central Committee and one representative per Assembly District to the CDP Executive Board Representative.



Assembly District Election (registration here):

Immigration Political Power


Language justice is essential in our efforts to fight for full equality and political power. It is not supported adequately by the status quo and eventually we would like to build an infrastructure than can pay translators (written and in-person) for their valuable work. We think that if properly implemented, language justice can be the “secret sauce” to win many progressive agenda campaigns, particularly in our predominantly working-class immigrant communities. Most Asian and Pacific Islander communities are over close to 60% immigrant, and for many, English is not their first language, so this is really an essential component of the grassroots work if we are to empower our peoples!

If you have any API language skills or know people that you can refer to this important effort, send them to our sign-up form here:

Political Power

Lessons from the Midterms

A conversation with the victorious Kenneth Mejia campaign and Kelsey Iino! Video recording is available on the PANA YouTube Channel!

Two Asian American progressive friends of PANA won big in Los Angeles. Both campaigns received more votes than either Karen Bass or Rick Caruso! How did they do it? Watch the replay HERE:

PANA is hosting another Zoom event on Sunday, December 11 at 4PM with progressive candidates and activists to hear lessons from their campaigns. To join this conversation, register HERE:

As of December 2, 2022, via, Kelsey Iino received 601,084 votes. Kenneth Mejia received 512,963 votes. Both ASIAN AMERICAN candidates received more votes than either mayoral candidate.

Furthermore, consider the significance of the Mejia Campaign, which ran on advocating “transparency and accountability in city government,” with exposure of critical city budget spending disparities as shown across the city on bold billboards such as this one, highlighting top concerns of Gen-Z:

More significantly than the tactic of a billboard, or rather the context for them, was the Mejia campaign’s empowerment of Gen-Z into the campaign, allowing them to take ownership of it and giving it the capacity to run a grassroots effort that swept the vote in every single Los Angeles Council District despite being 2nd to last in campaign fundraising. Nationally, the Gen-Z vote was a difference maker in the midterms, and it was nowhere better exemplified than by the Mejia campaign:

The Gen-Z-powered Mejia campaign swept every City Council District in Los Angeles!

A couple of more articles about Gen-Z’s impact on the midterms and the conditions that they are facing:

Asian American Political Power Rising

Language justice + Corgi Power = Victory!
Kelsey helping with Bernie Sanders outreach in Little Tokyo!

While both campaigns were running to represent the city and community districts at large, neither candidate hid from who there were as Asian Americans and stood proudly with their respective communities and culture not just during the campaign but have done so all their lives.

The Mejia campaign included language justice work in translating much of their campaign material and Kelsey has a long history with deep ties in the Japanese American community.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders as a whole represent the fastest growing demographic in the U.S. and have been an integral part of the Los Angeles social fabric for more than 170 years. Increasingly, our voters are playing critical roles in many important elections. As the majority of our interests align with other communities fighting for full equality and justice, we will be asserting our voice in the new coalition coming into being that chooses the path in service of the people and not the self-serving machinery of the Democratic and Republican Party establishments which has been prioritizing the interests of corporate greed.

Kenneth Mejia and Kelsey Iino will help lead this trend in Los Angeles. PANA is proud of both of them and wish them full success in their new elected positions!


Political Power

PANA Endorsements and Recommendations for the November 2022 Midterm Elections

With far-right-extremists still threatening to destroy what remains of democratic society, this may be the most important midterm election of our lifetimes and for the planet. Mail in ballots have been sent. Check your voter registration status HERE. Please urge your family and friends to vote.

U.S. House of Representatives

CD 34: David Kim

CA Assembly

AD 40: Pilar Schiavo

AD 65: Fatima Iqbal-Zubair

Los Angeles City Mayor

Recommended: Karen Bass

Los Angeles City Council

District 11: Erin Darling

District 13: Hugo Soto-Martinez

Los Angeles City Controller

Kenneth Mejia

Los Angeles City Attorney

Faisal Gill

LA County Sheriff

Recommended: Robert Luna

Los Angeles Unified School District Board

District 2: Rocio Rivas

Los Angeles Community College District Board

Kelsey Iino

Los Angeles Measures

Measure ULA: YES

Measure SP: NO

Measure LH: YES

CA State Propositions/Ballot Measures




Los Angeles County Judicial

Office 118: Carolyn “Jiyoung” Park

Office 70: Holly Hancock

Office 67: Elizabeth Lashley-Haynes

Office 60: Anna Slotky Reitano

Los Angeles County Measures

Measure A: YES

City of Pasadena

Measure H: YES

Measure PCC: YES

Montebello Unified School Board

Aaron Reveles

Burbank City Council

Nikki Perez

Three Valleys Municipal Water District

Jeff Hanlon

PANA MIdTerm Endorsements