Mr. Campos writes:
Reflecting on what it means to “pilgrim,” I am reminded of a line from an essay by Sr. Joanne Doi, our speaker at Chapel last fall to commemorate the Japanese-American Internment. In her essay, Doi asserts that
…it is not the direction of the movement itself that strictly distinguishes the pilgrim from the traveler, but the intent. The traveler seeks to escape, to vacate, while the pilgrim’s goal is towards a renewal, a regained wholeness, a re-centering. (Joanne Doi, “Tule Lake Pilgrimage: Dissonant Memories, Sacred Moment” in Revealing the Sacred in Asian and Pacific America).
Indeed, there is something meaningful about journeying to Angel Island at a moment when most of San Francisco’s energies are focused elsewhere, e.g., Bay-to-Breakers, the Giants’ game, and the impressive solar eclipse. By moving to the periphery—to an out-of-way place in the middle of the bay—we not only remember forgotten stories deeply connected to our own, we reorient the “center” to matters of the heart and spirit. Thus, we offer (and gain) healing to memories laced by trauma.