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Weekly Digest
July 28, 2020


COVID-19 and JACL operations and resources

JACL's physical offices remain closed. Staff continue to do the work of the organization remotely.  Please direct all phone calls to our Washington, D.C. Office at (202) 223-1240 and we will get back to you as quickly as possible. Otherwise, we will all be available via email. All staff emails can be found HERE. You can also check our website, jacl.org, for updates and COVID-19 resources. You can view our resources page here. 

Stay safe everyone and we hope to see you all in person again soon. 

- JACL National Staff


JACL Applauds Indiana University's Apology for Ban on Japanese American Students During World War II

Last week, on July 22nd, Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie, released a statement on behalf of the university apologizing for the actions the university took during World War II in banning Japanese Americans students. The statement and actions taken within are the culmination of work taken on behalf of Hoosier JACL member and IU alumni, Eric Langowski. On February 19, 2020, in honor of Day of Remembrance, Eric delivered a petition to the University Board of Trustees which asked for a formal apology for the university’s wartime actions. 


Statement from Berkeley JACL on Vandalism of Statue of Frank Ogawa in Oakland

"The Berkeley chapter of the JACL protests the vandalism to the bust of former Oakland City Councilman Frank Ogawa by unknown persons, but stand -- as we believe Frank Ogawa would have done -- in solidarity with the rights of citizens who exercise their rights to protest injustice, with the movement for Black Lives, and against federal unmarked troops forcibly brought into our communities.  
Frank Ogawa was the first Japanese American to serve on the Oakland City Council and experienced state racism when he was shipped to the Topaz concentration camp in Utah without due process during World War II. Berkeley JACL will always remember and honor Frank Ogawa's great contributions to our community and will continue his work by supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and all efforts to end racism." - Berkeley JACL

JACL Signs on to Amicus Brief with National Woman's Law Center on Title XI Proposed Changes

The JACL joins the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and other civil rights organizations in an amicus brief for the National Women's Law Center's lawsuit against Secretary DeVos and the Department of Education's Title IX regulations that undermine the protections of victims of sexual assault and harassment. We also remember that it was the work of Congresswoman Patsy Mink who championed the creation of Title IX during her term in Congress. 


JACL joins SEARAC, Other AAPI Orgs in Denouncing Use of Federal Agents in Portland 

Executive Director David Inoue said, "We denounce the mobilization of federal agents in Portland, and now other cities, under the false pretense to address urban violence and crime. Our federal agents should not be used as political props to antagonize cities because the president does not like the mayor's political party. The president is unnecessarily placing the lives of both the officers and civilians at risk through these incursions worthy of the world's worst dictatorships."


Save the Date: August 15 JACL National Board Meeting

On Saturday, August 15 the JACL National Board will be hosting its open board meeting for the JACL membership and community to attend. We'll be sending out more information in the coming week on zoom call-in information and schedule. Stay tuned. 


JACL 2021-2022 National Board Candidate Profiles 

With the elections for the 2021-2022 JACL National Board coming up soon, we're happy to present the candidate profile for the current list of candidates running. We'll be updating the list as we continue to receive further applications. The current candidate profiles can be found below. 


A Virtual Book Talk with Marilyn Chase: Hosted by Berkeley JACL

August 16
2pm-3:30pm PDT | 5pm-6:30pm EDT
Conversation with Marilyn Chase, author of Everything She Touched: The Life of Ruth Asawa. 

Zoom Call in Info: 

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83134300959?pwd=cFAycy9kZ0ZYaFo3NHY3bDIzZE9udz09 Meeting ID: 831 3430 0959 Passcode: 606149 One tap mobile +16699009128,,83134300959#,,,,,,0#,,606149# US (San Jose) +13462487799,,83134300959#,,,,,,0#,,606149# US (Houston)


Join Us in Support of H.R. 40

JACL Executive Director, David Inoue, discusses JACL’s support of H.R. 40. H.R. 40 would create a commission to examine the institution of slavery, its legacy, and make recommendations to Congress for reparations, beginning a process of repairing and restoring after centuries of enslavement. Click the image above to watch the full video statement. 


Tadaima Week 7 Programming and Amache Special Resource Study

The National Park Service (NPS) Amache Special Resource Study (SRS) team is excited to announce that we have been invited to conduct three virtual public meetings in partnership with TADAIMA! A Community Virtual Pilgrimage, an online event hosted on the Japanese American Memorial Pilgrimages (JAMP) organization website. We are honored to be included in the virtual pilgrimage and look forward to engaging with the public on the special resource study that is underway. Each of the three 2-hour meetings will follow the same format, beginning with a short presentation to introduce the Amache special resource study process, followed by smaller breakout groups to gather thoughts and information on the sites’ potential for inclusion in the NPS system. Breakout group discussions will center on questions listed in the attached newsletter. The newsletter also provides background information on the special resource study process and possible outcomes.

The meetings will be held during the following dates and times:

  • Saturday, August 1st:    12:00 pm – 2:00 pm  PDT (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm MDT)

It is possible to sign up for schedule notifications on the JAMP website to receive details about joining one of the meetings as this information becomes available: https://www.jampilgrimages.com/vpregistration 

Input from participants will be captured for the public record. If you would like to provide comments outside of the meetings you may do so by accessing the following site: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/Amache





JACL Mourns Passing of Representative John Lewis

The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) joins the rest of the nation in deep sadness at the passing of Congressman John Robert Lewis. 

Congressman Lewis first rose to prominence through his leadership during the civil rights movement of the 1960’s as a coordinator for the 1963 March on Washington and 1965 March from Selma to Montgomery Alabama. JACL is proud to have joined the Congressman in both these seminal events in our nation’s history.


JACL Denounces Presidential Memorandum on Apportionment

The Constitution is clear in its wording, “Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State.” There is no exclusion of any group for purposes of apportionment and the President’s memorandum will fail muster in the court. This is yet another attempt by the President to act unilaterally from the executive branch to demonize and antagonize immigrant communities. We denounce this executive order and look forward to its repudiation by our judiciary branch.


Tsuru for Solidarity - Shut Down Berks Protest Recap

From Tsuru for Solidarity:


In Tsuru for Solidarity, our work is grounded in being the allies we didn’t have during World War II, when our own families were rounded up and imprisoned in the camps. On Friday, July 17, so many communities came together to show up for the families inside Berks. We’re so moved to have been able to sing, dance, drum, and raise our voices together with the Shut Down Berks Coalition, Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees, Families for Freedom, Haitian Bridge Alliance and Free Migration Project to demand an end to Berks, to family separation, and to detention.  We're deeply grateful to have shared in this day of connection with everyone who showed up in person and in spirit, as well as with the families at Berks who were able to hear our collective voices and song.

And the work continues: keep up the pressure on Governor Wolf to issue an Emergency Removal Order with actions below from Shut Down Berks Coalition—"


JACL NY/SC Digital Storytelling Contest

How does the past influence your present?: NY/SC Digital Storytelling Competition 

This summer, the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) National Youth/Student Council (NY/SC) is excited to introduce our Digital Storytelling competition. 

We know that storytelling has always been important, particularly for Japanese and Asian Americans. Much of our community history is recorded orally or passed down through personal archives, and in the present moment it is especially important that we take note of our experiences, memories, thoughts, and feelings. This competition is designed to uplift young JACL voices and use our stories, whether they be present or historical, to build connections with one another in times of physical distance. 

Using one of five mediums--journalistic-style essay, visual art, video presentation, poetry, or creative writing--we ask youth participants to send in their stories, with the theme of How does the past influence your present? 

We encourage entrants to be creative in their approach to the theme. How has the past--be it your personal, familial, national, or other histories--shaped your current experience? How has it formed your identity or perception of self? How will it continue to shape your future? 

You may interpret the prompt as freely as you’d like. In reviewing submissions, members of the National Youth/ Student Council will be evaluating based on the following attributes:

  • Creativity

    • Does the submission exhibit an imaginative or innovative way of thinking?

  • Adherence to the Theme

    • Does the submission bridge elements of the past with the present in a clear and coherent manner?

  • Clarity of Story

    • Is the storyline of the submission clear and easy to understand? 

  • Quality of Submission  

    • Does the artist avail of all of their resources to produce their story?

The competition submission form can be found at nysc.jacl.org and will open June 28th, running until August 15th. The competition is open to all youth ages 13-30, no prior experience necessary. The top two entries will receive:

  • Recognition in the Pacific Citizen, our JACL newsletter; 

  • Publication online, both on the National Youth/Student Council site and the JACL National site;

  • An expenses-covered opportunity to attend the 2021 JACL National Convention in Las Vegas to present their work. 

If you have any questions, please contact NY/SC Youth Representative Mieko Kuramoto at mkuramoto@jacl.org . We look forward to seeing your submissions!


Japanese American Veterans Association Inaugural Day of Affirmation Recording

President Harry S. Truman (Center) decorating the colors of the Nisei 442nd RCT. Photo: Abbie Rowe, National Parks Service, Harry S. Truman Library and Museum.

About the Day of Affirmation

On July 15, 2020, at 12 noon (EDT), JAVA will commemorate the return of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team from the battlefields in Europe to Washington, DC. Seventy-four years earlier, on July 15, 1946, President Harry Truman received the military unit at 12 noon at the Ellipse, the south lawn of the White House, following its march down Constitution Avenue. The President presented the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT) with its seventh Presidential Unit Citation. The noon ceremony will include a wreath-laying at the Price of Freedom Wall, National World War II Memorial, which is on Constitution Avenue, near the Ellipse. Turner Kobayashi, son of Key Kobayashi, who served in the Military Intelligence Service, and Catherine Luette, daughter of Major Orville Shirey, who served with the 442nd RCT, will serve as the wreath bearers.


Hate Crime Resources 

We've updated our Hate Crimes Page to include more information and reporting options for members of the community as hate crimes increase as a result of COVID-19. You can visit the updated page here. 


Complete the 2020 Census Now!

Despite the COVID-19 epidemic, you can still fill out your 2020 Census online and over the phone! Click the link below to visit the Census website to start! Census enumirators will start visiting houses that haven't filled it out in August, so make sure you fill it out today!


Follow JACL on:


JACL Headquarters
1765 Sutter Street
San Francisco, California 94115
(415) 921-5225 | mbr@jacl.org

JACL DC Office
1629 K Street NW, Suite 400
Washington, D.C. 20006
(202) 223-1240 | policy@jacl.org

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