IN MEMORY OF RALPH LAZO (1924-1992)
Ralph Lazo was a 16-year old Mexican-Irish youth who voluntarily accompanied his Japanese American classmates to Manzanar concentration camp during World War II. Ralph, a student at Belmont High School, (near downtown Los Angeles), decided to join his friends on the Manzanar-bound train. Speaking some Japanese, he grew close to the first generation immigrant lssei bachelors with whom he stayed.
Bruce Kaji says of his Manzinar High School friend Ralph, "In fact, he was one of the most popular members of our class - a cheerleader, a president of the class and a mixer. We got a lot of leadership from Ralph Lazo." Ralph spent two and a half years at Manzanar. After graduating from Manzanar High, Ralph was inducted in the armed services, attended UCLA, and eventually became a counselor at Valley College. He never lost touch with his Japanese American friends. On New Year's Day 1992, one of Ralph's Nisei friends found out about his death when she delivered some of his favorite Japanese New Year',s dishes to his house. With Ralph's passing Japanese Americans lost a dear friend - one who stood by them during the trying times at Manzanar and throughout the Campaign for Redress.