Meet Our Board: Christie Mori

The JACL-DC chapter is excited to present the first post in our new blog series, Meet Our Board. As a way to introduce you to our 2017 board members, this series will feature posts from members throughout the year. Be sure to keep checking back for future posts from these individuals who are here to serve the DC chapter. 

Hello! I’m Christie Mori and one of JACL-DC’s two youth board chairs this year. I’m very excited to be a new youth co-chair and am honored and delighted to join the Board of Directors. My family and I have been members for five years! 

I’m currently an eighth grader at The Woods Academy in Bethesda, MD and when I’m not doing my Kumon homework, I enjoy playing tennis, writing, and singing in my school and church choir. In addition I also love playing soccer and softball. Next year I will be attending St. John’s College High School and will be entering in the De La Salle Scholars Program. I am also interested in filmography, and since I travel so often I always bring a camera with me to record and later create a short little “movie” of my trip. 

My background is unique. I’m the daughter of Nikkei Brazilian parents and speak Portuguese at home; I also speak Spanish and attend Keisho Center to learn Japanese. I recently went to São Paulo, Brazil to spend time with my family and friends.  

I look forward to working with the membership to create community-based programs to engage youth in the DC Chapter.

Addressing Islamophobia and its connection to the Japanese American internment experience

This blog post is by Ron Mori, JACL DC Chapter co-president.

Last week, I had the honor of participating on a panel hosted by the Harvard Kennedy School DC Alumni Council on manufacturing bigotry and Islamophobia. The panel on Islamophobia included powerful insights from thought leaders from the LGBT and Muslim communities, Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality and Zaki Barzinji, former Obama White House Muslim Community Liaison.

Each panel member related how important it is to share and learn from our unique cultures through storytelling, the arts, and media. My comments centered on learning from our Japanese American past—never forgetting our shared American history and preventing unconstitutional actions against a group of people due to race, gender, or religious beliefs.

Martha Watanabe from the JACL DC Chapter attended, along with Noriko Sanefuji, museum specialist for the National Museum of American History, to answer questions about an exhibit table at the event featuring photographs and items related to the Japanese American experience during WWII. Several mentions of the new American History Museum exhibit: Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans during WWII were also made during the discussion.

Thank you to the Harvard Kennedy School DC Alumni Council for inviting me to be a part of the group to discuss this important topic. As co-president of the JACL DC Chapter, I hope we will continue to engage in these timely and critical conversations.

Event recap: The 2017 Cherry Blossom Freedom Walk

Close to 100 people turned out for the 19th annual Cherry Blossom Freedom Walk, which took place on Saturday, April 1 at the National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism in Washington, D.C. Those in attendance came out to see, hear, and support the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation and the other sponsoring organizations in their mission to remind the public of the struggles and sacrifices made by people of Japanese ancestry who were deprived of their civil rights during WW II.

The event kicked off with Nen Daiko and a rousing taiko performance, followed by the MC of the event, Jeff Moy, vice president of public affairs for JACL, opening the program by recounting a personal story of his grandmother being forced to evacuate from her home in 1942. This was followed by DC Chapter co-President Ron Mori who told the story about his aunt, Yoshiko Mori who was incarcerated in Rohwer during the war. Ron also brought along a couple of rare and personal artifacts including his aunt’s war relocation leave pass that she used to travel from Rohwer to a job in Chicago.

Speakers for this year’s event included many notable individuals, including Diana Mayhew, president of the National Cherry Blossom Committee; Richard Bradley, chair of the National Cherry Blossom Committee; Lauren C. Vaughan, secretary of the District of Columbia; Minister Takuya Sasayama from the Embassy of Japan; Cal Shintani, chair of NJAMF; and Michael Cardarelli, president of the Japanese American Veterans Association.

This year’s keynote was delivered by Ms. Peggy Nagae, lead attorney in the Minoru Yasui case. Peggy’s remarks were very moving and powerful and were a call to action for all of us to never forget and to continue to work on protecting and preserving civil rights for all of us.

The event concluded with a walk around the National Mall, led by the Mt. Airy Baptist Church Troop & Pack 508.

As always, there was a very strong JACL presence at this event with both co-presidents of the DC Chapter Georgette Furukawa-Martinez and Ron Mori, co-vice president Nikki Yamashiro, Vice President of General Operations Michelle Amano, and board members Craig Shimizu, John Tobe, and Lauren Yamagata in attendance. Former National JACL President Larry Oda and his wife Anne, former national JACL President Floyd Mori and his wife Irene, and longtime and former DC Chapter President Gerald Yamada and his wife Nancy were also there to lend their support.

The co-sponsors of this event were DC Chapter of JACL, Ekoji Buddhist Temple, Japanese American Veterans Association, and the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation.

We also live tweeted the event! You can find us on Twitter at: @jacl_DCchapter.

It was a poignant and memorable event that we were glad to see so many people come out in support, and as always and we can’t wait for next year’s walk. 33648636322_b5bf4cca45_z33420120880_6bc2542183_z33804804025_c0a06cbebc_z

Happy New Year, JACL DC Chapter!

We hope you had a wonderful 2016 and are enjoying the start of the Year of the Rooster.

The DC Chapter continues to be strong, with a healthy mix of individual, family and youth members of all ages and backgrounds. Our chapter activities and its successes could not take place without your continuing support and participation. We are very thankful for the ongoing leadership of John Tobe, and his tireless work to continue to keep our Board and DC Chapter a relevant link to our history, traditions, community service and advocacy.

We are also humbled by the support given to us by current and former Board Members, as we transition into our new roles as Co-Presidents’ of the DC Chapter. It is our vision that we continue to engage chapter members of all ages, and to build an even stronger chapter with a diverse offering of programs that will honor our past and open new areas of discovery. In particular, we are excited about this summer’s 48th Annual JACL National Convention to be hosted in Washington, D.C.

John Tobe is the JACL National Convention Chair, and our DC Chapter will be working closely with him as we get closer to the convention in July. Needless to say, the convention takes more than a village to successfully run. There will be many opportunities to volunteer in the coming months that will be communicated in upcoming NewsNotes and emails.

In this time in America, it is important for all of us to share our collective stories and to make sure history does not repeat itself. Thank you for your continued support, and we look forward to seeing you at upcoming chapter events.

Your Co-Presidents,

Georgette Furukawa-Martinez and Ron Mori

Happy 2016!

Hundreds of JACL members and guests, friends and families celebrated the holidays at Mochitsuki 2015 on December 5! Thank you to all who attended – enjoying the bento boxes, purchasing gifts from the Crafty Ladies, pounding fresh mochi (see below), and more! Thank you to the JBE Band for providing live entertainment throughout the event! And thank you to those who donated to the raffle, whose proceeds will fund our chapter’s work for the 2017 JACL National Convention in Washington, DC.

Stay tuned for news and events in the New Year – and yes, Mochitsuki will return in December 2016!


Mochitsuki Brings Holiday Spirit Out in Community

Some 200 people dined on delicious bento boxes, pounded mochi, purchased stocking stuffers from the Crafty Ladies, and enjoyed cake, tea, and the spirit of celebration at  Mochitsuki 2013, held December 14 at Bethesda Middle School.

This celebration capped off a year of events for the DC chapter, ranging from annual festivities such as Mochitsuki, Keiro Kai, and the June picnic to participating in the National JACL Convention at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C. in July and coordinating the annual commemoration at Arlington National Cemetery for Memorial Day.

More to come in 2014! To stay on top of the chapter’s activities, send your email address to to be added to our mailing list.

JACL Mochitsuki 2013 craft table


JACL Mochitsuki 2013 craft ladies

JACL Mochitsuki 2013 outdoor

JACL Mochitsuki 2013 collage 3

JACL Mochitsuki 2013 collage 2

Mochitsuki 2013

Finding Community Through the Holidays

Our chapter’s 2013 Keiro Kai and Family Day came to North Bethesda Middle School on September 140. Festivities included teriyaki, sushi by our own top chef David Inoue, and for the first time ever entertainment by the Japan Commerce Association of Washington Band! Next up: Mochitsuki, December 14, North Bethesda Middle School, starting at noon. For more information, email