By Carol Kawase, NCWNP governor
AKEMASHITE OMEDETOU! Welcoming the New Year of the Earth Dog comes with the astrologist’s communique of a year for action and great change! People born with the dog zodiac sign are destined to have a noteworthy year during this once every 60-year cycle. This is especially relevant to President Donald Trump. The past and impending actions by the current White House administration on several key issues that seriously affect minorities and low-income families are set to confront us with great change.
The policy changes in education, immigration, health care, foreign policy, labor rights, social programs and transportation in the past year was indeed implemented with charged tenacity that undermined social justice reform. So much that had been put into place to support and strengthen social justice and civil rights has been dramatically dismantled. It’s appalling to see so many people disenfranchised, demoralized and filled with dread.
In regards to resolutions, Anais Nin opines, “The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding life, is too much of a daily event.” As such, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions either. Personally, I’m more successful making a lifelong lifestyle and/or mind-set change.
As a leader, I’m guided by my 4E principle — educate, enlighten, engage and effect. However, after watching all the drastic, unimaginable changes last year, this year I’m compelled to make a resolution. I RESOLVE to utilize my 4Es more proactively. I resolve to make a daily habit of planning, criticizing, sanctioning and molding to advocate for a strong social justice infrastructure.
This is where JACL’s longstanding ties in Washington, D.C., is immensely important. We’ve made great strides in civil rights legislation, lobbying Congress, amicus briefs to overturn or amend legal decisions that affect the AAPI community as well as other minority groups. Our long history of experiences still burns bright and gives JACL leverage to continue the work of equality for all. It’s imperative that we continue monitoring the current dismantling of key social justice assurances and be prepared to address injustice.
It’s fortuitous to be affiliated with the NCWNP District. As one of the largest districts within JACL, it’s a diverse entity of many chapters with longstanding history and cumulative experiences. Each of our chapters has committed boards, successful programs and dedicated members. Many chapters have committed expertise in progressive social justice organization.
I draw from those gained experiences to enlighten all chapters to be as effective in their own local areas through organization networking, fundraising, education, collaborative programs and cultural exchanges. I believe strength in numbers helps our ability to support one another through any challenges.
I’m hoping for everyone’s resolve to stay relevant, vigilant and ready to get involved. Take advantage of any opportunities to help educate and enlighten yourselves and others to be able to take on the challenges that lie ahead. Let’s maintain our connection with each other by engaging with other organizations, educating each other about our experiences and collaborating.
Actions can be in any quantity to effect change. It can be as simple as being a member of JACL. Any support, big or small, for our organization helps us to stake a claim for equal access.
What’s your 2018 resolution for action to maintain social justice change for all?