JACL DC Chapter Mourns the Loss of Community Hero, Secretary Norman Y. Mineta

We at JACL DC mourn the loss of Secretary Norman Y. Mineta. He was a ubiquitous
presence at our local events: the Cherry Blossom Freedom Walk at the National
Japanese American Memorial, Day of Remembrances at the Smithsonian National
Museum of American History, celebrations at the Embassy of Japan, and many of our
own JACL DC Chapter events such as Keiro Kai and Mochitsuki. We’ll also never forget
the Norman Mineta and His Legacy: An American Story D.C. film screening and Enemy
Child book event at the Library of Congress.

Norm was always surrounded by young and old alike who were eager to hear his
inspiring stories.  At a book talk and signing, he sought out the young people and
empowered them with his words of wisdom.  He encouraged students to become
engaged and take charge of their lives by saying, “There are two things you own–your
name and your integrity.”
  They saw up close how he changed a negative experience of
being labeled a “non-alien” during WWII to a positive asset of becoming an exemplary
citizen in his many responsibilities serving our country and his strong belief in our
democratic system.  

He took time to thank and recognize his contemporaries and congratulate admiring
adults for their accomplishments as they reminisced together about their shared
histories.  Many of our members remember Norm as a community leader, a political
giant, a mentor, and a friend, and commented that they remember Secretary Norman
Mineta as “Norm”.  It was the way he treated people and how he spent time with them.  
We thank his wife, Deni, for being the wind beneath Norm’s wings.  Our hearts go out to
his many family members and friends.  As we grieve the passing of Norman Mineta, let
us experience the full impact of our loss but also celebrate and express our gratitude for
his legacy and all that he has given us.

#SecretaryNormanMineta #MinetaLegacydocumentary #curriculum #NormanMineta

You’re Invited To Mayor Bowser’s AAPI Heritage Month 2022 Celebration!

Join Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs (MOAPIA) for a night of festivities as they celebrate the amazing cultures and people that call the District home.

Date and Time:

Tue, May 10, 2022

6:30 PM – 8:00 PM EDT


Lincoln Theatre

1215 U Street Northwest

Washington, DC 20009

View Map

Registration Link:


For more information or to keep up with the Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs, follow them on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram!

MBDA AA & NHPI Business Series – Kick-Off Event on April 27th!

You’re invited!

In recognition of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA & NHPI) Heritage Month, join the U.S. Department of Commerce‘s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) for their three-day AA & NHPI Business Series of virtual events.

MBDA’s AA & NHPI Business Series:

  • How to Do Business with the Federal Government & Contract Readiness 101
    Wednesday, April 27, 2022: 3:00pm – 4:30pm ET

  • Navigating Traditional and Nontraditional Sources of Capital and Financing Thursday, May 5, 2022: 3:00pm – 4:30pm ET

  • State of AA & NHPI Businesses: A Data and Research Analysis Wednesday, May 11, 2022: 3:00pm – 4:30pm ET

Register at the link below:


Please visit their MBDA Landing Page for updates

(Full link: https://www.mbda.gov/aanhpi-business-series)

Follow @USMBDA on social media for more information on May events with their MBDA National Network and AA & NHPI stakeholder partners.

Unity March Taking Place on Saturday, June 25, 2022 – Register Today!

The goal of the Unity March is to bring together Asian Americans and allies to “tell a story of pan-Asian/pan-racial power, unity, and resilience.”

This year’s mobilization is taking place on Saturday, June 25, 2022 in DC, with potential satellite actions across the country.

You can preview their website and learn more about the event itself here.

To register, please click here. We hope to see you there!

50th Celebration Spring Koto Recital

Washington Toho Koto Society along with the University of Maryland Japanese Koto
Ensemble is going to present the 50th Koto Recital on April 24th, 2022.

Kyoko Okamoto, the founder of Washington Toho Koto Society established in 1971, has
been teaching Koto courses at UMD as a part of Musicology & Ethnomusicology to allow
students to experience Japanese cultural aesthetics as exemplified in the traditions of Koto
since 1973.

As an ambassador of traditional Japanese music, the group has been performing at
numerous places including National Cherry Blossom Fesitval, the John F. Kennedy Center of
Performing Arts, and the Embassies of Japan, Germany and France over the years.

Okamoto has been awarded Foreign Affairs Award by Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi in
2003 for her contributions to the music and cultural exchange.

The recital will be open to the public with free admission.

Please join the 50th celebration of the Koto performance at the University of Maryland,
College Park.

24th Annual National Freedom Walk Concludes On A Successful Note

By: Martha Watanabe

On Saturday, April 2, this year’s 24th Annual National Cherry Blossom Freedom Walk was held virtually for the second time. It was disappointing not to be able to hold the event in person but with the pandemic, safety remains a priority. As this is the 80th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066, this year’s theme was “Dissenting Voice to EO 9066: Eleanor Roosevelt.” Our pre-registration was 130 and over 80 people participated online in the program. It was exciting to see that more than half of the folks were from outside the DMV.

Our pre-show consisted of a slide show featuring the Memorial and photos from prior years, then a performance by Nen Daiko. Martha Watanabe began the program with welcome remarks. Marty Herbert led the Pledge of Allegiance with a photo of Mark Nakagawa saluting the flag and Dr. Noriko Hunter sang the National Anthem. Ben deGuzman, Director of the Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs read a letter of greeting from Mayor Muriel Bowser. Diana Mayhew, President of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, sent a video message of greeting and introduced the clips from their 2022 Goodwill Ambassadors. We were pleased that Ambassador Tomita Koji sent a video message. This year we taped the remarks of the co-sponsors at the Memorial to give a “live” feel to the program. The Chapter was represented by Kim Hirose Tobe, co-President.

This year our keynote speaker was David B. Woolner, resident historian, senior fellow, and former Executive Director of the Roosevelt Institute who shared insights into Eleanor Roosevelt’s opposition to EO 9066. He graciously agreed to do a question and answer session following his remarks which were facilitated by Ryan Yamamoto, the nightly news anchor at KPIX-SF.

We recorded the program and soon it will be posted on social media sites.

Honoring The Go For Broke Spirit – Coming Soon!

The JACL DC Chapter is thrilled to promote photographer Shane Sato’s exhibit, “Honoring The Go For Broke Spirit,” which will be featured at the Japan Information and Culture Center from June 9th – to July 22nd, 2022. Admission is free, and we encourage anyone who lives in the DMV area to go visit.

This exhibit is co-sponsored by the Japanese American Veterans Association, Veterans Memorial Court Alliance, and the Japan Information and Culture Center.

Visit https://java-us.org/ for more information about the role of WWII Japanese American soldiers.

For more information about Shane Sato’s work, visit: http://www.thegoforbrokespirit.com

DC Board Members Take On JACSC Week Of Action!

Top Left to Right: Bridget Keaveney, Julie Abo, John Tobe, Janice Nakano Faden, Michelle Magalong, and Alex Shinkawa.

On Tuesday, March 29th, 2022, DC Chapter board members Julie Abo (Vice President), Janice Nakano Faden (Community Engagement & Civil Liberties Liaison), Bridget Keaveney (Member at Large) and John Tobe (Member at Large) joined JACL Policy Fellow Alex Shinkawa and Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow Michelle Magalong for virtual legislative visits with the offices of  Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md) and Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md). Their visits come as a result of JACSC (Japanese American Confinement Sites Consortium)‘s Week of Action, which officially kicked off on Monday, March 21st. This year’s meetings take place during congress’ district workweek (March 21st – 25th, 2022), which allows constituents and participating members the chance to meet with their members locally, either in person or virtually.

Participants of Tuesday’s meeting had the opportunity to advocate for the Japanese American Confinement Education (JACE) Act, which would not only extend the Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) Program by authorizing another $32 million dollars in funding, but also authorize an additional $10 million over 5 years to be used by Japanese American organizations to educate the public on the Japanese American incarceration experience, and emphasize the importance of historical preservation. The JACE Act is modeled after the recently passed Never Again Education Act (H.R. 943) which expanded the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s education programming. The JACS Program (H.R. 1931) passed unanimously in the House on March 15, 2022 and now moves to the Senate (S988).

As a chapter, we not only support JACSC and the great work they do, but we also collectively ask that members of the Senate: 

  • Cosponsor S988.
  • Call on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee for a hearing on the HR 1931 House bill.
  • Continue to fund the JACS program at a minimum $3.1 million for FY(Fiscal Year)2023.

To further support the JACS program, click the link below:

To learn more about JACS and JACE, click the listed site below:

24th Annual Freedom Walk – NEXT WEEK! 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!