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NY/SC: Connecting Across the Country

By December 15, 2023January 6th, 2024No Comments

The NY/SC at the Youth Mixer it hosted at July’s National Convention (Photo: Courtesy of the NY/SC)

Prompt: What have you worked on and accomplished in 2023?

Mika Chan (She/Her), National Youth Chair, and Claire Inouye (She/Her), National Youth Representative

As we close out 2023, we want to recognize the collective work that the NY/SC board has accomplished alongside carrying out initiatives in their respective districts.

While at its 2023 Spring Retreat in Chicago, the NY/SC took the time to visit “The Bean.” (Photo: Courtesy of the NY/SC)

During winter 2023, we commemorated Day of Remembrance through a social media campaign highlighting Japanese American places, businesses and community enclaves across the seven districts within the JACL.

In the spring, we held our spring retreat in Chicago and engaged in several workshops, conducted an MDC summit and connected with Midwest JACLers.

With the National Convention being our main focus during the summer, we successfully led two workshops and conducted a youth orientation, youth mixer and youth luncheon.

For fall quarter, we met for our fall retreat in San Francisco, which consisted of three workshops, an NCWNP summit and connecting with local JACL leaders in the San Francisco Bay Area.

We feel an immense amount of pride in working alongside this board and am continuously reminded of the importance of fostering leadership among our generation within our community.

With that said, none of our work would be possible without the generous support from our sponsors, JACL leaders, staff and members. Thank you to all who have shown us love and encouragement throughout the year! We wish you good luck and health as we enter 2024 and look forward to what’s to come!


Remy Kageyama (They/Them), EDC Youth Representative

This past year, I helped organize and served as a panelist for the NY/SC’s National Convention workshop in collaboration with Okaeri L.A., titled, “Queer Mental Health, Allyship and Activism.”

I also hosted a virtual youth summit in collaboration with Grassroots Gardens of Western New York on agriculture, immigration and food justice in June, and more recently held a three-day district youth retreat to the 2023 Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival.

The NY/SC in San Francisco at its most recent retreat, which focused on supporting the JA community, specifically small businesses. JACL members from around the Bay Area were then invited to join the NY/SC in supporting the Japantenna pop-up shop. (Photo: Courtesy of the NY/SC)

I would like to give a huge thank you to the Eastern District Council, Philadelphia chapter and Washington, D.C., chapter for funding the youth retreat, where EDC youth from across the East Coast were able to visit Shofuso, meet students from UPenn ASAM’s Undergraduate Advisory Board, tour Philadelphia and attend an exclusive prescreening dinner hosted by JACL’s Philadelphia chapter with the festival’s closing film director Jennifer Takaki and executive producer and longstanding JACL-N.Y. member George Hirose!


Lana Kobayashi (She/Her), PSW Youth Representative

Last summer, I had the opportunity to co-host my first convention workshop alongside Ayako, Lyra and traci ishigo from Vigilant Love. Together, we led a workshop titled “Balancing Wellness and Sustainable Advocacy,” which attracted a great turnout and empowered participants to navigate self-care without compromising their commitment to advocacy.

The experience was heartwarming, as I witnessed our community come together to bring this workshop to life. Traci, a former youth representative at my local chapter, played a crucial role, and our connections within the JACL helped make this workshop a reality. With the support of our community and the lessons learned, I am excited to finish my term strong in 2024!


Lyra Paez (She/Her), CCDC Youth Representative

This past year, I’ve been able to increase JACL presence within the community and the opportunities they present. I was able to visit and connect with young students within my district through the CCDC spring youth summit and the Back-to-School Campaign! It’s been a lot of fun getting to work alongside these incredibly encouraging people, and

I’m looking forward to the year to come!


Halle Sousa

Halle Sousa (She/Her), NCWNP Youth Representative (Sousa was recently appointed to her role, held previously by KC Mukai)

While I have only been in my position for a very short period of time, I was able to hold my fall youth summit in San Francisco Japantown as part of the Japanese American Youth Alliance, a coalition of Nikkei youth organizations and clubs in Northern California. As the vice chair of the NCWNP District Youth Board, I have also helped recruit and onboard our new cohort for 2023-24. I look forward to facilitating more events in the coming year.


Cameron Sueoka (He/Him), IDC Youth Representative

Presented our Back-to-School campaign for the Young Buddhists Assn. at the Salt Lake Buddhist Temple, a family of four joined JACL and the eldest son is going on the January Kakehashi trip

Salt Lake City 80th anniversary of the Murder of James Wakasa, Banquet Committee, helped organize the Salt Lake events, which included a banquet, art project and Topaz-inspired art exhibit

Pickleball, Pizza and panel discussion on Topaz for my spring summit with Jane Beckwith from the Topaz Museum; Sherrie Hayashi, U of U director of OEO/AA, former SLC JACL president and Topaz descendant; and Kenzi Hirai, Friends of Topaz Museum Salt Lake, program coordinator at the Food Justice Coalition and Topaz descendant

Stamping my great-grandparents name in the Ireicho Book 2023 at the JACL National Convention

Working with my amazing cohort of young JA movers and shakers.


Ayako Tischler (She/Her), MDC Youth Representative

Members of the NY/SC at the 2023 JACL National Convention in Los Angeles. Pictured (top row, from left) are Kyle Yasui, Mika Chan and Cameron Sueoka, (middle row, from left) Lyra Paez, Ayako Tischler, Lana Kobayashi and Remy Kageyama and (front row, from left) KC Mukai, Sheera Yoshimi and Claire Inouye. (Photo: Courtesy of the NY/SC)

In the spring, I was able to welcome the NY/SC to the Midwest for our Chicago retreat! With great support from Midwest Youth Chair Simon Kutz and the Chicago JACL chapter, I hosted a hybrid panel highlighting Asian American elected officials across the Midwest. It was a great opportunity to center the wins and challenges unique to the Midwest and connect Asian American students to the leaders in our region. We also had a strong turnout at Convention, and I’m looking forward to the upcoming year!


Kyle Yasui (He/Him), PNW Youth Representative

My term started just in time for me to join the NY/SC for the spring retreat in Chicago, where I received a fantastic crash course on all things JACL.

Since then, I took part in the NY/SC and Okaeri L.A.-led National Convention workshop, “Queer Mental Health, Allyship and Activism,” where I had the honor of serving as a panel speaker.

I look forward to serving the rest of my term for the PNW!


Editor’s Note: At July’s JACL National Convention, KC Mukai and Sheera Yoshimi were still part of the NY/SC board. Since then, Claire Inouye has assumed Sheera’s position, and Halle Sousa, new NCWNP youth rep, has taken over for KC.