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National Board Votes to Cancel 2020 JACL National Convention

By April 24, 2020April 30th, 2020No Comments

Technology, the coronavirus and organization bylaws prompt the decision.

The JACL National Board has voted unanimously to cancel the JACL’s National Convention, which had been set to take place from June 24-28 in Las Vegas at the Bally’s Resort and Casino.

The April 23 decision to cancel the annual confab was based on the continuing shelter-in-place and physical distancing protocols caused by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, limitations in technology to hold a proposed virtual convention and National Council meeting (see following link) and the organization’s National Bylaws.

In a statement, the JACL said: “As they currently stand, the Bylaws do not explicitly permit a meeting of the National Council to be held virtually. Specifically, the definition of a meeting, as defined by Robert’s Rules, requires that participants be in the same physical room with one another, something that would not be possible under current public health guidelines for social distancing.”

The JACL added, however, that it will hold a virtual meeting on Aug. 15 that will be open to any members who may wish to attend and that information for how to join the virtual meeting will be forthcoming. Items to be discussed at that time will include but are not limited to:

  • Passing of a national budget for the 2021 calendar year
  • The proposed 2021 budget will be made available to the membership 60 days prior to the meeting for review
  • Announcement of biennial award winners
  • Conveyance of awards to be held at a yet to be specified date and location in 2021

The JACL also announced that, separate from the National Board meeting, the Nominations Committee is preparing guidelines with the preliminary expectation that elections will be held later this summer.

Furthermore, it was announced that “Resolutions and Constitution and Bylaws amendments will not be considered this year; however, the Initiative process, as set forth in Article 13 of the Constitution, remains open for members to spur action from the organization.

“With the new target of an August 15 Board meeting, some convention-related deadlines that were in place for the 2020 National Convention may be shifted pending decisions from the convention committee chairs. Announcements related to these schedules will be shared through the JACL Digest and on the JACL website at”

The JACL had previously announced that its National Convention would be postponed in a statement on April 9, stating, “The unprecedented impact and continuing uncertainty of COVID-19 necessitated this decision to ensure the health, safety and welfare of our members, delegates and board members who would have attended the in-person meeting.

“It is the responsibility of JACL to support national efforts to promote physical distancing and reduce the opportunity for the disease to spread, ”the statement continued. “Further recognizing that many of our members may be at heightened risk of complications from COVID-19 also influenced the decision.”

In conclusion, the JACL said in its April 23 decision that it “remains committed to ensuring the safety of our members. While it is regrettable that we will not be able to conduct our National Convention this year, we must also remain faithful to the rules that govern our organization. JACL will be working to provide alternative programming for its members in the coming months beginning with Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May.”