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!

Amache National Historic Site Act Signed Into Law

Left to Right: John Tobe, Chair, NJAMF, Senator John Hickenlooper, (D-CO), Doug Ichiuji, Treasurer, NJAMF, Robin Nixon, Chief of Partnerships for National Mall & Memorial Parks, NPS.

On Friday, March 18, 2022, President Biden signed into law H.R. 2497, the “Amache National Historic Site Act,” which establishes the Amache National Historic Site in the State of Colorado as a “unit of the National Park System, to preserve, protect, and interpret the incarceration of civilians of Japanese ancestry during World War II at the Amache site.”

We thank Representatives Neguse and Buck and Senators Bennett and Hickenlooper for their leadership and support.

DC Chapter’s very own John Tobe had the pleasure of meeting Senator Hickenlooper at the National Japanese American Memorial on Friday, March 18th, 2022. Tobe graciously served as a representative on behalf of the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation (NJAMF), JACL DC Chapter, and JACL National. We thank Senator Hickenlooper for his support of Amache and his co-sponsorship of S988.

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.