24th Annual Freedom Walk – Register Today!

Please join us for the 24th Annual and 2nd Virtual Freedom Walk on Saturday, April 2nd, at 3pm (EST). Our theme this year is, “Dissenting Voice to EO 9066: Eleanor Roosevelt.” We’re pleased to share that David B. Woolner, Resident Historian and former Executive Director of the Roosevelt Institute, will be our keynote speaker. Following his remarks, he will answer questions from participants. Registration is required but free. Sign-up today!

2nd Virtual/On-line Keiro Kai & Family Day!

Photo by Kris Ikejiri

Please join us for our second virtual/on-line Keiro Kai & Family Day on Sunday, September 26 at 4:00 PM EDT!

With the continued goal of community building, we will enjoy a getting to know you activity where you can share (or show & tell) a new skill or hobby learned within the last year and a half or bring an family artifact/heirloom and discuss the story or meaning for your family.

We will continue with some fun games of Trivia where you’ll be working in teams to answer the trivia questions. There will be prizes for the winning team (one prize per household)!

You can register on Eventbrite here. A zoom link will be sent to you a day or two prior to the event.

Hope to see you there! Please feel free to contact us at jaclwdc@gmail.com for questions

Community Luncheon & Speakers

As we begin to venture out again we would like to get together with our families, friends, colleagues and other interested people for a Hawaiian box lunch and discussion on two timely topics relevant to our Asian community on Thursday, July 22, 2021 at 11:30 AM at the Great Falls Library, 9830 Georgetown Pike, Great Falls, VA  22066.

Our guest speakers will be:

  • David InoueExecutive Director of the Japanese American Citizens League, will speak on the topic of the Asian Hate Crimes Law that was recently signed to address the increased violence against Asian Americans, what it means, and how it affects us.
  • Katie DefoeCrime Prevention Specialist with the Fairfax County Police Department, will give tips on how Asian Americans can best protect themselves from both verbal and physical attacks when out in public settings.  Many in our minority community (especially the elderly) are fearful nowadays to step outside their homes for fear of attacks.

Lunch will be ordered from Abunai, a modern Hawaiian poke shop located in the District.  Choose from the following options (prices include taxes and gratuities):

  1. Kahlua Pig and Cabbage Plate Lunch (braised shredded pork shoulder, red cabbage, onion and scallions), macaroni salad, and mixed green salad = $16.00
  2. Shoyu Chicken Plate Lunch (chicken marinated in soy ginger garlic sauce with scallions), macaroni salad and mixed green salad = $16.00
  3. Roasted Chicken Salad (roasted organic chicken breast with roasted peanuts, carrots, edamame, scallions, won ton chips, pineapple vinaigrette, over brown rice and mixed greens) = $16.00
  4. Shrimp Poke Bowl (shrimp, scallions, cilantro, cucumbers, wasabi aioli, lemon zest and avocado over sushi rice and mixed greens) = $16.50

Our luncheon meeting will be held in the meeting room of the library which can accommodate 100, and will allow for social distancing for anyone who may be uncomfortable meeting indoors.  If you can’t make lunch, come at 1:00 PM to hear the guest speakers.

To place your lunch order, please email jaclwdc@gmail.com by July 18.  You will receive directions on where to mail your check and your order will be placed.

Meet & Greet with Ambassador Tomita

On Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at 3:00 PM EDT, we will hold a virtual Meet and Greet welcoming the new Japanese Ambassador, Koji Tomita.  Ambassador Tomita will be sharing goals for working with the Japanese American communities, provide an update on recent Japan-US events, and share some of his personal interests and experiences.  You can register for this event at Eventbrite.


73rd Annual Memorial Day Service

The 73rd Annual Memorial Day Service will be on May 30, 2021 at 10:00 AM EDT.  This program, begun by Kei Kobayashi in 1948, is the longest running memorial service held at Arlington National Cemetery.  The theme, “Honoring the Legacy of Nisei Solders,” is in conjunction with the upcoming release of the “Go For Broke” stamp on June 3, 2021.  Due to COVID restrictions, a limited number of passes to the Memorial Day service will be available.  Co-sponsors for this event include the Japanese American Veterans Association and the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation.  You will be able to livestream this event on the JAVA Facebook.

23rd Annual and First Virtual Freedom Walk

The 23rd Annual and First Virtual Freedom Walk will be held on Saturday, March 27, 2021 beginning at 3:00 PM EDT (login begins at 2:45 PM). The program, Spotlighting Our Significance, will feature Nen Daiko, the Embassy of Japan, the Honorable Norman Mineta and more. Following the formal program will be break out sessions and discussions about the history and importance of the National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism During World War II. Please register in advance, Meeting Registration – Zoom

Day of Remembrance – FACEism: A Panel Discussion of History and Accountability

February 19 is the Day of Remembrance, the annual recognition of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s signing of Executive Order 9066 and the subsequent incarceration of nearly 120,000 people of Japanese descent living mostly in Washington, Oregon, and California. To commemorate the thousands of people affected by this human rights abuse, our discussion this year features news anchor and filmmaker David Ono and his documentary series FACEism, which examines how racism is rooted in often ignored and painful histories.

Event begins at 6:00 PM ET, click here: Day of Remembrance

“FACEism is when we make quick, often unfair, judgments about people we don’t even know, ignoring the fact there is so much more behind their face.” Panelists will consider episodes from the documentary series and explore community activists’ further
discussions about history, accountability, and injustice in our past, present, and future. The episodes are: “FACEism: How COVID-19 is Resurfacing U.S. History Against Asian Americans”; “President Reagan’s Apology for the U.S. Internment [Incarceration] of Japanese Americans during World War II”.

Moderated by Modupe Labode, curator and public historian at the National Museum of American History. Panelists include David Ono, anchor for ABC7 Eyewitness News Los Angeles; Ann Burroughs, president and CEO at the Japanese American National Museum; Cheyenne Cheng, Norman Y. Mineta Fellow for the Japanese American Citizens League; and Matthew Weisbly, Daniel K. Inouye Fellow for the Japanese American Citizens League.

Co-Sponsors: Japanese American Citizens League; Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation; Japanese American National Museum; Japanese American Citizens League, DC Chapter; National Japanese American Memorial Foundation, and The National Park Service & Friends of Minidoka.

Modupe Labode is a public historian who has been at the National Museum of American History since August 2019. She works in two divisions—Political and Military History and Culture and Community Life—and her area of concentration is African American Social Justice History. Before coming to NMAH, she taught history, museum studies, and Africana Studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), where she was also a Public Scholar of African American History and Museums.

David Ono is an anchor for ABC7 Eyewitness News, Los Angeles’s top-rated newscast, and an anchor for Eyewitness News on KDOC-TV. Since joining ABC7 in 1996, Ono has witnessed history worldwide, covering Hurricane Katrina, Haiti’s earthquake, and Japan’s tsunami. He traveled across Europe and Asia chronicling brave acts of Nisei soldiers from World War II. Ono has attended two royal weddings, tracked drug runners through Central America, reported live from Boston after the marathon bombing, and covered terrorism from Paris. Ono has trained with the FBI, the elite Los Angeles Sheriff’s SWAT team, ICE, and the Los Angeles Port Police. Three times President Barack Obama invited him to the White House, twice for interviews and once to speak on inclusion in America. Ono has also covered two papal selections and Pope Francis’s 2015 visit to the United States and 2016 visit to Mexico. He has produced multiple award-winning documentaries and has won eight Edward R. Murrow awards and 24 Emmys, among other honors.

Cheyenne Cheng is the current Norman Y. Mineta Fellow for the Japanese American Citizens League. Born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, she graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. During her time at UF, she led a task force in support of Asian American studies and co-founded the Asian American Oral History Project, which seeks to collect narratives of Asian Americans at UF and in the greater South. She serves on the national board for the East Coast Asian American Student Union as a mobilization coordinator, where she educates Asian American and Pacific Islander students across the East Coast through advocacy-based workshops and initiatives.

Matthew Weisbly is the current Daniel K. Inouye Fellow for the Japanese American Citizens League. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. His senior honors thesis explored demographic data and oral histories of Nisei soldiers with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. In school, he was president of the Nikkei Student Union, vice president of the Mixed Race Student Community, part of the collegiate taiko group Kazan Taiko, and a part-time employee of the campus Asian Pacific American Student Services office. A longtime JACL member, he also served as the Youth Representative for the Arizona Chapter and as the inaugural Ted T. Namba Fellow for the Pacific Southwest District.

Ann Burroughs is the president and CEO of the Japanese American National Museum. She has over 25 years of experience in nonprofit leadership working with Amnesty International USA and other organizations such as Social Sector Partners, the Taproot Foundation, and LA Works. Burroughs has also consulted for the Rockefeller Foundation, HandsOn Network, and the government of her native South Africa, where she was a young anti-apartheid activist imprisoned for her activism.

2020 Virtual Mochitsuki on December 5

The JACL DC Chapter is hosting a Virtual Mochitsuki on December 5 from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. ET.  Come join us for a fun-filled, Japanese American community event where people of all ages can gather together to enjoy each other’s company and share family traditions around the topic of Rice to Know You!  Click here to register.

Robin Koda, co-owner/co-manager of Koda Farms (an almost century-old Japanese American family owned and operated rice farm in Central California) will share her interesting family history and the “scoop” on rice. Check out the Koda Farms recipes, including one for making mochi, if you want to enjoy some during our event.

You will receive links for a Zoom invitation and a RICE Bingo card after you register. The Bingo card can be printed or used virtually to play. A huge thank you to the Crafty Ladies who are providing the Bingo prizes!

We look forward to kicking off the holiday season by seeing old friends and making new ones virtually at this year’s Mochitsuki!

In the past, funds raised from this event helped to sustain JACL DC Chapter activities throughout the year, so we wish to thank you for your past support and generosity.


This year, we would like to support our essential workers, those who are food insecure, and local Asian restaurants who are hurting during the pandemic through Woks for Washington (WFW). WFW was started as a grassroots effort by two sisters who identified certain food needs in our community.  All donations for WFW are used to purchase and deliver meals from local Asian restaurants to essential workers, homeless and emergency shelters, and others with limited access to freshly made meals. Gifts are tax deductible.  If you wish to support those in need in our community during this challenging time, you can click here to donate to this cause. Add a Comment if you would like to reference the JACL DC Chapter. You can also donate by clicking on “Donations” when registering for this event, and your donation will be forwarded to WFW.

If you have questions about using Zoom, please contact Kim Hirose at Kimhirose@gmail.com.

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at jaclwdc@gmail.com should you have any updates to share with the Chapter, suggestions for the board, or questions!    

JACL DC Chapter Virtual Book Talk with Shirley Higuchi- 10/7!

Join the JACL DC Chapter on Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 7pm EDT for our 3rd Virtual Book Talk, this time with Shirley Higuchi, author of “Setsuko’s Secret: Heart Mountain and the Legacy of the Japanese American Incarceration.”

Higuchi, who is the associate executive director of legal and regulatory affairs for the American Psychological Association and the chair of the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation, will talk with attendees about this deeply personal account of her family and the generational trauma that shaped her own life.

As children, Higuchi and her brothers knew Heart Mountain only as the place their parents met, imagining it as a great Stardust Ballroom in rural Wyoming. As they grew older, they would come to recognize the name as a source of great sadness and shame for their older family members, part of the generation of Japanese Americans forced into the hastily built concentration camp in the aftermath of Executive Order 9066.

Only after a serious cancer diagnosis did Shirley’s mother, Setsuko, share her vision for a museum at the site of the former camp, where she had been donating funds and volunteering in secret for many years. After Setsuko’s death, Shirley skeptically accepted an invitation to visit the site, a journey that would forever change her life and introduce her to a part of her mother she never knew.

The Zoom link, password, and call-in information for this event will only be shared with those registered for the event. Hope to see you there. Questions? Email jaclwdc@gmail.com

Time: 7pm-8pm EDT

RSVP: https://bit.ly/3i4dEPx