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Workshop Highlights of the JACL National Convention

By October 23, 2014No Comments

By JACL National Convention Committee

As busy as Conventioneers will be with the National JACL Convention business meetings, some of the more remarkable events that will be available for attendees will be the workshops covering unique discussion topics under the Convention’s theme, “We Are America.”

All are encouraged to review the workshop schedule and attend one or more that have been scheduled during the Convention. Each session is designed to be 90 minutes in length. A registration fee and signup are required to ensure availability of space.

Following is a list of workshops under the “We Are America” theme:


Breaking the Mold

Presenters: Roy Hirabayashi, PJ Hirabayashi and Johnny Mori; moderator: Lisa Hirai Tsuchitani

In Japan, taiko was performed for rituals to summon or drive away evil spirits or give spirit and courage to warriors. In North America, these artists helped spread taiko across the U.S. and Canada to become a dynamic blend of sound, movement and rhythm that fuses Asian roots with a Western flair.

Roy and PJ Hirabayashi are the founders of San Jose Taiko and are the 2011 recipients of the National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellowship in Folk and Traditional Arts. Mori is a musician and arts educator/administrator from Los Angeles and one of the seminal members of Kinnara Taiko from Los Angeles and the original taiko drummer for the group Hiroshima.


The Changing Landscape of Health Insurance

Presenter: Stephen Divizich

Changes brought on by the Affordable Care Act have affected every American. The health insurance industry has struggled to comply with the new law, including the JA Health Benefits Trust.

Divizich, a longtime JACL member who has worked as the administrator of the JACL Health Benefits Trust (now JA Health Benefits Trust) since 2001, will present strategies for choosing health insurance, give information on financial assistance and tax implications and tell you what you can expect for the coming open-enrollment period.


Nikkei Genealogy Society — Finding Your Japanese Roots: In the U.S. and in Japan

Presenters: Linda Harms Okazaki and Melinda Crawford

Have you ever wanted to learn more about your family history? Have you wondered about when and where your Issei ancestors immigrated or what really happened to your relatives in camp? Geneology is a popular hobby and documenting your personal family history is a way to have a deeper understanding of the Japanese American experience.

Topics will include immigration, laws in the U.S., vital records, internment camp files and more. A Q & A session follows the lecture.


Identity If Not a Math Equation: Multiracial, Multiethnic and Mixed Identity

Presenter: Christine Munteanu

The multiracial movement in America is growing. Participants will explore their own sense of racial/ethnic identity, examine the issues involved in racial identity formation, learn about the history of racial categorization and mixed race in America and focus on the unique experience of multiracial and multiethnic Asian Pacific Americans. This workshop, presented by Munteanu, Midwest District Council Program Coordinator, aims to help participants realize that they have the right to choose and claim their own sense of identity.


Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Justice

Presenters: Stephanie Nitahara, Traci Ishigo and Marsha Aizumi

The JACL PSW District aims to make Nikkei LGBTQ inclusion and justice a priority. Goals are for participants to gain a greater awareness and understanding of the issues facing our Nikkei LGBTQ community members and how to create an inclusive community within the JACL, as well as empower chapter and district representatives by giving helpful recommendations for how they can get involved and expand this LGBTQ justice work to their local communities.


Model Minority: A Documentary Presentation and Workshop

Presenters: Darby Li Po Price and Connie Masuoka

Professor Price will present his award-winning PBS documentary “Model Minority: Do the Math,” then moderate a discussion of problems and solutions related to student learning, educational goals and overall academic success.


A Model for a Successful Speakers’ Bureau: A Guide to Presenting a New Generation

Presenters: Jodi Hottel, Henry Kaku and Marie Sugiyama

In this workshop, participants will learn how one chapter reinvented its Speakers’ Bureau, training a new generation to follow in the footsteps of its Nisei predecessors. The workshop leaders will make a presentation about how they expanded their team of speakers, increased the number of speaking engagements and reached a wider range of audiences.


Discovering History in Your Own Backyard: Tuna Canyon Detention Station

Presenters: Nancy Kyoko Oda, Kanji Sahara and Nancy Takayama

The purpose of the dialogue is to preserve history, educate people about this little-known Department of Justice camp and encourage others to listen to the fading voices of our parents and their struggle for equality.


U.S./Japan Education Committee: Back to Our Roots

Presenters: Minister Hideaki Mizukoshi, Priscilla Ouchida, Amy Watanabe, John Ino and Larry Oda; moderator: Floyd Shimomura

This workshop discusses the activities of the U.S./Japan Education Committee, including an update by JACLers who visited Tohoku last fall on the final distribution of $6 million in relief funds raised by JACL/Direct Relief, a discussion of the new JACL/Direct Relief scholarship by Meiji Gakuin for Tohoku students who were victims of the 9/11 disaster and a report on the Kakehashi Young Adult Exchange visit to Japan by those involved in the May 2014 visit, as well as a report on the activities of the Japan Chapter regarding its involvement with disaster relief and student exchanges.


For more information about the 2014 JACL National Convention, go to http://www.jacl.org2014 for registration and updated event information, as well as additional tour event information.

Originally published on June 20, 2014