Press Release Jul 1, 2016

Civil Rights Activist to be Honored for Commitment to Preserving History, Protecting National Parks

Tule Lake Committee Board Member Barbara Takei is the 2016 recipient of NPCA's Receive Marjory Stoneman Douglas Award, for her work to ensure the protection of the Tule Lake Unit of WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument.

OAKLAND, Calif. – Japanese-American civil rights activist Barbara Takei will receive the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Award from National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) on Sunday, July 3. Takei will receive the award for her work to ensure the protection of the Tule Lake Unit of WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument, a historic site devoted to telling the story of Tule Lake where nearly 19,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II. The award ceremony will take place during the 21st pilgrimage to the Monument.

“Our national parks preserve and share some of America’s most trying struggles, as well as our greatest victories,” said NPCA President and CEO Theresa Pierno. “Leaders like Barbara Takei help bring the importance of these stories to the forefront. We are honored to recognize Barbara’s leadership and dedication to Tule Lake with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas award.”

A member of the Tule Lake Committee, Barbara has been a driving force in gaining recognition for the Tule Lake Unit of the WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument and having its history and stories told, through the National Park Service. Barbara has worked over the years to save historic structures at the site and has successfully advocated for increased federal financial support. In addition, Barbara helped raise more than $800,000 in funding, matching grants and in-kind donations to protect and help interpret the national park site’s resources.

“I’ve considered myself so fortunate to be able to work on preserving this Japanese American civil rights site, and am grateful to be honored for the work I’ve done on behalf of the Tule Lake Committee and the National Park Service’s Tule Lake Unit,” said Barbara Takei. “I also thank NPCA for elevating and validating Tule Lake’s significance with this honor.”

“Just like Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Barbara Takei is an articulate and effective advocate for the protection of an important national park site, the Tule Lake Segregation Center,” said NPCA Senior Director of the Pacific Region Ron Sundergill. “Thanks to Barbara’s work and that of the Tule Lake Committee, many of the historic resources that help tell the story of Japanese American incarceration at Tule Lake and the injustices that they endured are now protected.”

The biennial Tule Lake Pilgrimage, organized and led by the Tule Lake Committee and attended by more than 400 people, includes tours of the former incarceration camp, a memorial ceremony for those who died at Tule Lake, cultural performances and special presentations of the history of Tule Lake and its relevance to present day struggles.

Tule Lake was the largest “War Relocation Authority” camp during World War II. The camp is one of many sites that make up the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, designated by President George W. Bush in 2008. Thanks in part to advocacy led by Barbara, the Tule Lake Committee, NPCA and others, in December of 2015, Senator Barbara Boxer introduced legislation to designate the Tule Lake Incarceration Camp as a national historic site. The legislation would elevate the site to be in equal recognition with other incarceration camps preserved and managed by the National Park Service, such as Manzanar and Minidoka.

NPCA’s annual Marjory Stoneman Douglas Award was established in 1986 to honor people who go to great lengths to advocate and fight for the protection of our national parks. Named for Marjory Stoneman Douglas, a life-long advocate for Everglades National Park, this annual award recognizes the outstanding efforts of an individual or group that result in the protection of a national park or proposed site in the National Park System.


About National Parks Conservation Association Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit