July’s National Convention, set for Philadelphia, is among the numerous topics discussed at the organization’s San Francisco headquarters.
By P.C Staff
Preliminary per-person costs and possible themes for the 2018 JACL National Convention in Philadelphia were among the items discussed at the Feb. 3 JACL National Board meeting, held in San Francisco, during a report given by JACL VP of General Operations Michelle Amano.
Prior to Amano’s report, JACL National President Gary Mayeda announced the appointment of attorney George Kita as JACL National Legal Counsel; he succeeds Michelle Yoshida.
Kita, who graduated from the University of California, Hastings College of Law, is president of the Downtown Los Angeles Chapter of JACL, a position he has held for several years. The JACL National Board unanimously confirmed Kita’s appointment.
Amano said the cost for the convention, which is set for July 18-22, would be about $350 per person. Two possible themes discussed were “Activism: Redress and Resistance” and “A Lasting Legacy: Celebrating Civil Rights Leaders,” with the former chosen by consensus.
VP Public Affairs Jeff Moy kept his report brief, mentioning participation in events such as the recent Women’s March, which he and National Youth/Student Council Chair Kota Mizutani took part in. Moy then ceded the floor to Greg Marutani, who reported that Ron Sakai has been appointed as the National Education Committee’s MDC representative, succeeding Lisa Hanasono.
Marutani also reported that a new Teacher Training Workshop was under development with Go for Broke National Education Center chief Mitch Maki to “reinvigorate the interest of the chapters to deal with the issue of what’s happening now” as it relates to the success of the Japanese American Redress Movement.
Pacific Citizen Editorial Board Chair Gil Asakawa then conveyed that 50 JACL chapters from all the JACL districts purchased ads in the P.C.’s 2017 Holiday Special Issue, which showed increased revenue compared to 2016. Asakawa also noted how the P.C. has recently experimented with putting ads that appear only in the PDF version of the Pacific Citizen, as well as touted the P.C.’s Amazon Affiliates program, which will get additional promotion in 2018, and how there will be more theme-based issues in addition to the usual Holiday and Scholarship issues.
Membership VP Haruka Roudebush reported that JACL membership was down 4.2 percent, ending the year with 8,887 members nationally from 9,277 members. Roudebush noted, however, that EDC grew 3.5 percent from 2016 to the end of 2017. In addition, he noted that there were several chapters that lost 10 percent or more of their members.
“Doing follow-up with these specific chapters … is going to be a priority I think for the National Membership committee so that we can assess factors as to why they’re experiencing these levels of membership loss,” he said.
Roudebush’s written report noted that requests have been made to each district board to submit a representative to serve on the National Membership Committee, with the first monthly NMC conference call scheduled for Feb. 12.
Regarding the Young Professionals Caucus, which first met in 2016, Roudebush formally submitted a request that the YPC officially become a national standing committee of the JACL, with initial funding of $3,000. After discussion, Roudebush said he would rework and resubmit that proposal at a later date.
Planning & Development VP Matt Farrells reported on the Board Give-or-Get program, which is a policy that compels JACL leaders to commit pledging to give or raise an unspecified dollar amount to the organization. He said it looks like all but one pledge has been collected for 2017-18. He also introduced Alicia Green of Hendricks Drive, an advertising agency that is creating a fundraising brochure as part of the current development campaign. The brochure is set to be completed later this month.
Farrells said that Green, who gave a presentation to the board, has already interviewed leaders, including JACL President Gary Mayeda, to get some different perspectives to help define the marketing strategy JACL will be rolling out, with a public launch set for July’s National Convention.
As part of the fundraising campaign, Farrells said the goal is to raise $1 million over two years, and that there will also be a focus on fundraising at the chapter level. He closed his report with updates on the scholarship program — including a new Dr. Newton K. Wesley optometry scholarship of $1,000 annually — and the Legacy Fund Grant Program, the application deadline for which is May 1.
For the National Youth/Student Council Report, Mizutani and representative Kenji Kuramitsu split the duties on reporting its recent activity, including the EDC Youth Summit, which took place during the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival last year and the continuance of its Nikkei-mashou newsletter, which published its second edition in December, with a third edition on the way in a few weeks. They also reported that the NY/SC spring retreat will take place Feb. 23-25 in Los Angeles, as well as a PSW/CCDC/NCWNP summit, also in Los Angeles, March 10-11. The latter will include the opportunity to see the stage musical “Allegiance.”
Chip Larouche, the new chair of the District Governors’ Caucus, discussed the negative ramifications for the governors’ meeting when the start time of the National Board meeting is moved up 30 minutes. He also requested that board meeting materials be sent out with more lead time in order to study the many reports. Another item he reported on from the Governors’ Caucus meeting was reservations regarding the policy of the voluntary return of Legacy Fund checks, a policy that had been introduced a few years back, according to Treasurer Alan Nishi, to help stop potential staff cuts.
Before closing the meeting, Mayeda discussed how best to provide JACLer Tom Ige, who hade a substantial donation in 2017 to both National JACL and the Pacific Citizen, a Lifetime membership to the organization. Mayeda also discussed the recent Kakehashi trip and reported that Meg Mizutani had expressed interest in becoming more involved with the program and that she would be a valuable resource in the future as the Kakehashi special committee chair.