The Venice-West Los Angeles JACL chapter celebrated the official merger of the Venice-Culver and West Los Angeles chapters and installed its 2017 board officers at an installation luncheon on Dec. 11.
JACL National President Gary Mayeda installed the 2017 chapter board members at the luncheon.
The event also featured Councilmember James Toma of West Covina as its keynote speaker, where he spoke about his personal journey to a career in public service and politics, as well as the role Japanese Americans and JACL have in the current political climate.
Toma’s mother is from Okinawa, Japan, and his father is a Sansei from Hawaii. He grew up in numerous cities throughout his childhood and graduated from high school in Stockton, Calif., and then went on to become the first college graduate in his family, graduating from Yale University and later earning his master’s degree at the University of California, Berkeley.
He previously served as mayor for the City of West Covina and has been a member of JACL for 20 years.
— Amy Watanabe, Venice-West L.A. JACL Board Member