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Get Ready to Learn in SLC

By July 12, 2019July 29th, 2019No Comments

Varied plenaries and workshops exploring topics regarding advocacy, community, digital technology, redress, youth and much more await conventiongoers.

Following is an official schedule of the plenaries and workshops that will be available during the JACL National Convention in Salt Lake City from July 31-Aug. 4. Information is as of press time.

Aug. 1 Plenary

11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

“Where Are the Youth?”: Investing in Youth Leadership & Membership

Sponsored by the JACL National Youth/Student Council

Panelists: Lisa Doi, Justin Kawaguchi, Mieko Kuramoto and Devon Matsumoto

Fostering healthy youth leadership and membership is a powerful way to not only combat the JACL’s declining membership but also ensure the organization’s evolution, both in numbers and mission. Yet, recruiting and retaining youth membership can be difficult, particularly without a critical mass of engaged youth members.

This panel will feature leaders of chapter or regionally based youth groups to discuss experiences with retaining a critical youth membership mass and building a strong leadership pipeline.

Aug. 2   Plenary

9-10 a.m.

The JACS Consortium: A Model for Japanese American Community Advocacy

Panelists: Shirley Ann Higuchi, Sec. Norman Mineta, Larry Oda and Mia Russell

Moderator: David Inoue

The JACS Consortium was created in spring 2018 with the establishment of the consortium’s Leadership Council. The consortium quickly coalesced around defending funding for the JACS program and found success with the expansion of Congressional support for the program to unprecedented numbers and engendering bipartisan support that had not existed since the original creation of the program.

The panel will discuss the formation of the consortium, its successes, challenges and vision for the future. JACL’s David Inoue will moderate the discussion.


Workshop Sessions

10:15-11:15 a.m.

Careers in Advocacy & Community Service

Speakers: David Inoue, Stephanie Nitahara and Monica Thammarath

While countless AAPIs have been trailblazers in community organizing and advocacy, our community continues to be underrepresented in advocacy careers. This youth and young professional-geared workshop will help participants explore pathways to careers in advocacy and community service.


Uplift & Listen: An Open Dialogue With 
Local Community

Speakers: TBD

This workshop will uplift the voices of South Asians, Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders, who will discuss the issues that impact them and their communities. This will be an opportunity for the panelists to share their experiences and how the broader AAPI community can help amplify their causes and messages.

Finding Your Japanese Roots in the U.S. — Part 1

Speaker: Linda Harms Okazaki 

Are you eager to start researching your family history? Are you interested in learning more about your roots? Join genealogist Linda Harms Okazaki as she helps you to get organized, offers tips for interviewing family and explains which records are relevant to your family history. Part 1 of this two-lecture seminar covers the basics of family history. These sequential lectures are suitable for all levels and include a Q & A.

JACL Chapters in Motion: Addressing Family Separation at the Border and Muslim Ban: From Resolution to Action

Speakers: Josh Kaizuka, Stan Shikuma and Nancy Ukai

In 2018, JACL passed two resolutions on detention of immigrants/refugees and the Muslim Ban. What have local chapters done to implement these resolutions? How can we “Stop Repeating History?” JACL chapters share how current government policies resonate with family and community WWII experiences and actions. This workshop will examine how Islamophobia resulting in the Muslim Ban echoes anti-Japanese hysteria prior to Pearl Harbor and discuss ways to support our Muslim neighbors. Attendees are invited to share experiences of protecting civil liberties and holding the government accountable while showing that “Never Again Is Now.” Includes a screening of the short film by Emiko Omori, “The Cranes Have Landed.”

Plenary 2:15-3:45 p.m.

The Early Redress Years: 1977-1984

Panelists: Carole Hayashino, Ron Ikejiri, Frank Sato, Floyd Shimomura, John Tateishi and Ron Wakabayashi

How do you organize a “grassroots” movement? This panel will consist of key National JACL officers and staff who, during 1977-84, helped develop the successful campaign for monetary redress for Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II. It will also cover the historic 1978 Salt Lake Resolution, the creation and impact of the federal redress commission and the early efforts to influence President Ronald Reagan in Washington, D.C. (Jack Svahn meeting) and in Tokyo (Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone meeting). 

Workshop Sessions

4-5 p.m.

What Does It Mean to Be an American? Mineta Legacy Project

Speakers: Sec. Norman Mineta and Rylan Sekiguchi

As a 10-year-old boy in 1942, Norman Mineta was powerless when his country imprisoned him and his family in a fit of wartime hysteria. But nearly 60 years later, he sat at the highest levels of government as the United States reeled from 9/11 and began experiencing a new hysteria. In times of crisis like these, how has the institution of civil liberties been affected by individuals like Mineta whose voices guide government policy? Learn about a new Stanford-developed online curriculum that can be used in the classroom and how to support your local JACL chapter’s advocacy and school-outreach efforts.

Finding Your Japanese Roots in the U.S. — Part 2

Speaker: Linda Harms Okazaki 

Part 2 of this two-lecture series about family roots takes a deeper dive into records, including WRA and DOJ camp documents, preparing to order records in Japan, visiting relatives and understanding the basics of DNA.

Multigenerational Trauma Discussion on the Japanese American Incarceration

Speakers: Dr. Karen Cone-Uemura, Shirley Ann Higuchi, Darrell Kunitomi, Dr. Lisa Nakamura, Prentiss Uchida and Amy Watanabe

This workshop explores the cross-generational impact of the Japanese American incarceration experience.9 Higuchi, a Sansei attorney, explores the “Sansei Effect,” a term she coined while researching her upcoming book on the trans-generational effects of her family’s incarceration experience. She will be joined by Drs. Nakamura and Cone-Uemura, trauma workshop expert facilitators in the JA community and multicultural groups. Sansei and Yonsei panelists will lend their insights.


Aug. 3 Plenary

11 a.m.-Noon

The State of Asian America

Panelists: Christine Chen, Rita 
Pin-Ahrens and Thu Quach

Leaders from the AAPI community will discuss key issues affecting Asian Americans today and how you can mobilize your chapters to take action. Topics to be covered include health care access, immigration, affirmative action, racial profiling, media diversity, the 2020 census and what this will mean for the 2020 elections.


Workshop Sessions

1:15-2:15 p.m.

Social Media for Chapters

Speaker: Haruka Roudebush

The Effective Social Media for JACL Chapters workshop will provide an overview of how chapters can use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as viable communications platforms to engage and build their membership base. The workshop will be based primarily on information provided in the Social Media Guide for chapters developed by the JACL Young Professionals Caucus and the JACL National Membership Committee.


Learn How to Preserve and Share Japanese American History With Digital Technology

Speaker: Tom Ikeda

Participants will come away from this session appreciating the power of digital technology to preserve and widely share oral histories, historic photographs and documents. Participants will also learn strategies for their respective chapters on how they can implement an oral history project and start a program to scan historical materials from chapter membership.

Memory Activism and Mass Imprisonment: The Preservation of Our Legacies

Speakers: Karen Ishizuka, Sam Mihara, Stephanie Nitahara and Nancy Ukai 

Moderator: Kurt Ikeda

The Nikkei legacy can be found in artifacts, places and mentorship. Join us as we discuss how being rooted in the history of incarceration inspires the activism of three generations of Japanese Americans.


Workshop Sessions

2:30-3:30 p.m.

Intersecting Identities: Nikkei LGBTQ Stories

Speakers: Marsha Aizumi, Sarah Baker and Stan Yogi

Moderator: Michael Iwasaki

Three speakers representing different identities will share their journeys navigating through the Nikkei community, as well as the LGBTQ community. In their stories, they will share their experiences at the intersection of being Nikkei, gay, queer, mixed race, a mother of a transgender son and various other identities. You will hear their successes and their challenges, along with ways their identities can be respected and honored.

Fighting White Supremacy

Speaker: Jason Groth 

This workshop hopes to encourage interracial understanding and movement building. It will begin with a broad discussion that brings local activist leaders together to talk about how white supremacy has impacted their community and activism while also creating tensions between oppressed groups. We will hear from these activists about how they have seen collaboration work and how they or their groups have overcome divisions successfully.

Fundraising/Development for Chapters

Speakers: Matthew Farrells and Steve Okamoto

This workshop will inform participants of fundraising techniques and best practices for chapters and JACL members to 
deploy to effectively raise funds for the National Fundraising Campaign or other initiatives.

NPS Parks and Partners: Successes, 
Best Practices and Opportunities

xSpeakers: Bernadette Johnson, Kara Miyagishima, Dakota Russell, Mia Russell, Angela Sutton, Wade Vagias, Hanako Wakatsuki and Larry Whalon

Moderator: Tom Leatherman

The National Park Service will be hosting a conversation focused on highlighting best practices, successful partnership projects and supporting relationship building. Come prepared to share your experiences, brainstorm projects and bounce ideas around. This session is open to all current and future NPS partners.


Workshop Sessions

3:45-4:45 p.m.

Anti-Discrimination Response Training

Speaker: Irene Ota

This workshop will be modeled after the Anti Discrimination Response Training. Irene Ota is a certified facilitator and will be giving a mini version of this training. The main focus will be on how APIA can react and help diffuse instances of racism, discrimination, prejudice, etc. on a day-to-day level.

The Orange Story — Peeling Back Nikkei Identity

Speakers: Lisa Doi and Kurt Ikeda

What does “Shikata Ga Nai” mean to you? Is “Gaman” enough?

“The Orange Story” is a scripted narrative film by Full Spectrum Feature that tells the story of Koji Oshima, the proud owner of a small grocery store in the Pacific Northwest. In the wake of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, we follow Koji’s story as he prepares his shop and his life for the forced removal before Incarceration.

Kurt Ikeda and Lisa Doi will lead participants in a follow-up workshop that peels back the cultural values/intergenerational trauma that soaked into the Nikkei community in the aftermath of incarceration.

Planning Your Family Caregiving, Sponsored by AARP

Speaker: Tomoko Tsukamoto

Moderator: Scott Tanaka, MSW

Join us for a candid conversation on family caregiving, with insights from registered nurse Tomoko Tsukamoto. During Tomoko’s nursing career, she has worked with family caregivers as part of the health care team and personally has been a caregiver for multiple family members. This workshop session will discuss preplanning as a family, the role of the health care team, what resources are available and how to get started.

From Redress to Today: Creating Momentum for the Future of the Japanese American Confinement Sites Consortium

Speakers: Shirley Ann Higuchi, Kathy Masaoka and Floyd Mori

Moderator: Mia Russell

This is an examination of the grassroots framework from redress and how the JACSC can take these lessons forward for both our community and as effective allies. A panel discussion with Kathy Masaoka (Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress), Floyd Mori (JACL) and Shirley Ann Higuchi (JACSC) will discuss the role of individual and collective activism in affecting national policy. Join us in harnessing the energy of redress to guide the consortium into the future!

Film Programming Set to Screen in SLC

The following films will be shown during the 2019 JACL National Convention.

Daytime Screenings

July 31 1 p.m.

‘Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony for Nisei Veterans’ (60 mins.)

This program is a recording by C-SPAN of the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony, held on Nov. 2, 2011, that honored Japanese American veterans of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service during World War II.


July 31 2:15 p.m.

‘An American Story, History of California’s Nisei Veterans’ (20 mins.)

During World War II, Japanese Americans served the United States military only in segregated units. The Nisei soldiers of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team earned seven Presidential Unit Citations and more than 9,000 purple hearts. The Military Intelligence Service worked with Allied Forces in the Pacific. They are credited with helping to shorten the war.

July 31 2:45 p.m.

‘National Japanese American Memorial Site to Patriotism’ 
(20 mins.)

This film visits the site of the National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism and tells some of the stories of Japanese Americans during World War II.


July 31, 3:15 p.m.

‘A Flicker in Eternity’ 
(25 mins.)

This film is based on the diary and letters of Stanley Hayami, who joined the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in the U.S. Army during WWII and subsequently lost his life fighting for his country. (At press time, Producer/Director Sharon Yamato might be in attendance.)


Aug. 1 9 a.m.

‘Transcending, The Wat Misaka Story’ (90 mins.)

This is the story of Wat Misaka, who became the first nonwhite person to play in what is now known as the National Basketball Assn. This film also highlights the Japanese American experience during World War II.


Aug. 1 10:30 a.m.

‘Nisei Bowling’ (22 mins.)

This film, by Alli Nakamura, is about a Nisei bowling group in Salt Lake City comprised of mostly Japanese American senior citizens. The film also covers some of the history of the Japanese American community and the JACL as it relates to bowling.


Aug. 1 1:30 p.m.

‘Never Forget’ (60 mins.)

This film documents the Japanese American Nisei soldier’s story of the 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service of World War II. Interviews were conducted with San Diego Nisei veterans and their families, as well as family members of veterans who have passed on.


Aug. 3 8 a.m.

‘Recognition and Reconciliation Ceremony’ (65 mins.)

This film documents the JACL ceremony to apologize to the Resisters of Conscience of World War II. The ceremony was held on May 11, 2002, in San Francisco, Calif. This film also contains portions of the apology talk given by Floyd Mori (JACL National President), as well as talks by John Tateishi (JACL National Executive Director/CEO), Congressman Mike Honda, Frank Emi and others.


Aug. 3 9:15 a.m.

‘My Face Was My Crime’ (35 mins.)

This documentary film is about the Tule Lake Segregation Center, which was open from April 23, 1942-March 29, 1946. Tule Lake was the largest and most infamous of the camps because in July 1943, Tule Lake became the Segregation Center.


Evening Screenings


Aug. 1 7 p.m.

‘Never Give Up: Min Yasui and the Fight for Justice’

This one-hour film will be followed by a Q & A with Holly Yasui, Min Yasui’s daughter, and Peggy Nagae, the lead attorney in Min’s case. Attorney Min Yasui purposely broke the curfew placed upon Japanese Americans during WWII in order to test the constitutionality of the ruling. He subsequently spent his life working for civil rights.


Aug. 1 8:45 p.m.

‘Norman Mineta and His Legacy: An American Story’

The story of the life and career of Sec. Norman Y. Mineta is captured in this film, which has been shown on PBS. (At press time, Sec. Mineta and producers Dianne Fukami and Debra Nakatomi (pictured) are expected to be in attendance.)


Aug. 2 7 p.m.

‘Our Lost Years’

This new documentary film by Lane Nishikawa is about the incarceration of 120,000 persons of Japanese heritage during WWII. Nishikawa will be on hand to sell DVDs that will benefit the San Diego JACL chapter.


Aug. 2 8:45 p.m.

‘Only the Brave’

This film is about the Japanese American 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team, which was ordered to rescue the “Lost Battalion” from Texas. The unit suffered 800 casualties while 
rescuing 211 Texans.