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From the Executive Director: See You in Philly!

By May 10, 2024June 26th, 2024No Comments

David Inoue

Four years ago, we were in the midst of a worldwide pandemic but also planning for the 2024 elections. Already canceled at this point, our convention had been planned for Las Vegas, where we planned to join with OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates to hold a joint convention with overlapping programming. Of course we went through with holding our convention in Las Vegas in 2022 and shared much of our program with OCA.

But now, here we are four years later — the pandemic is over, but we again have a Biden vs. Trump election, and we are looking forward to once again collaborating with OCA and supporting APIA Vote’s Presidential Town Hall, which will be the afternoon of July 13 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Convention will be July 10-14 in Philadelphia, which is expected to be a significant swing state where the Asian Pacific American population could make the difference.

We look forward to leveraging the resources of being with OCA and APIAVote at the Sheraton hotel. We will share plenary sessions and workshops focusing on current topics of interest and important to the upcoming election, both locally and nationally. As we all know, elections are always a balance between the global issues and local action, voting being one of those actions.

Being in Philadelphia, one issue mobilizing the local community is the threat to Chinatown, but this is an issue we see playing itself out in many other communities, one we looked at last year in Little Tokyo, one of our own few remaining Japantown enclaves.

We will also look at diversity and ethnic studies as a means of organizing, particularly in the face of so many attacks on efforts to diversify library collections, curriculum studies and even creating a student body or workforce that more closely resembles the actual population of a community.

The third core issue we will focus on are the proliferation of alien land laws and the return of historically discriminatory policies and laws targeting minority and particularly Asian and immigrant communities.

While we are collaborating with OCA and APIAVote, these and other workshops and breakout sessions will draw from the broader coalition of partners we work with both in the Asian American as well as the larger minority communities.

Speaking of collaboration with other community members, many of you have participated in the JACL/OCA Leadership Summit, which this year is celebrating its 40th year, including 30 years with OCA.

We will be having a special reception for those of you who are alumni and will be sending invitations for this special event shortly. If you don’t receive an email for this, please email to let us know your class year so that we can add you to the list or add your email to your name.

We will also have fun. On Wednesday, our welcome reception will be held at Philadelphia City Hall, an iconic building just a few blocks from the hotel. We will be screening the premiere of Lane Nishikawa’s newest work, “League of Dreams,” highlighting the history of JACL through the memories of many of you. On Friday night, we will join OCA attendees for a night with Hip Hop for Change. Finally, the Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center will be holding a special public event on the Sunday following the conclusion of the convention.

If all that isn’t enough to get you to come to convention, there also happens to be a certain baseball team that will be in town playing the Philadelphia Phillies that Tuesday-Thursday.

We look forward to seeing you in Philadelphia July 10-14.

To get more information and register for convention, visit

David Inoue is executive director of the JACL. He is based in the organization’s Washington, D.C., office.