March 28, 2015
Worlds collided spectacularly yesterday at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo where my friend Gary Miyatake's portrait of the late great Cesar Chavez was gifted to the Smithsonian. Gary is the grandson of Toyo Miyatake, the seminal Japanese American photographer who documented Japanese American internment at Manzanar. In 1993 during a 30th year anniversary celebration of the United Farm Workers, Gary took what turned out to be the last official portrait of Cesar Chavez (he passed just a month later). Paul F. Chavez, Cesar Chavez' son (top left), shared with everyone in a heartfelt speech that Gary's portrait was the only photograph taken by a non-family member that hangs in the Chavez family home.
Gary is also a fellow student of the Venerable Wangchen Rinpoche. Rinpoche gave a beautiful blessing at the beginning of the ceremony that set a spiritual tone ("May you all be blessed by the enlightened ones.."), echoed later by a speech by actor and activist, and longtime Chavez family friend, Edward James Olmos ("I owe everything to Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta.") Needless to say my heart and mind exploded when Admiral Adama and my teacher hugged in mutual respect. Worlds colliding spectacularly indeed...
Posted by HT at 12:21 PM