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About Venice
west LA



Serving the West LA and Venice/Culver area to fulfill the JACL mission to secure and maintain the civil rights of Americans of Japanese ancestry and all others, and promote and preserve the cultural values, heritage and legacy of the Japanese American community.

On March 7, 1936, the first Japanese American Citizens League chapter in the west area of Los Angeles was established. The chapter served West Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Venice and was called the Bay District JACL Chapter under the leadership of its first president Frank Mitzusawa.

As a tri-city chapter, it did not grow much beyond thirty members. Consequently, Joe Masaoka, George Inagaki and Henry Fukuhara met to formulate a plan to strengthen JACL in the Santa Monica Bay area.  Their plan to decentralize the Bay District Chapter into three chapters-  Santa Monica, Venice, and West Los Angeles- was immediately successful. The chapters would become some of the most active chapters in the Pacific Southwest district of the JACL.

The Venice-West LA JACL chapter was formed in 2016 as a result of the merger between the Venice-Culver and West LA chapters. Today we continue the work of JACL and serve our community with the help of our partners: Kizuna, Venice Japanese Community Center, VJCC Young Adult Club, Camp Musubi, UCLA Nikkei Student Union, Nisei Week and the West LA Buddhist Temple.

About the Pacific Southwest District of the JACL

The Venice-West LA chapter is part JACL's Southwest District. JACL PSW consists of over 3,000 members and is the second largest district in the organization. JACL PSW is comprised of chapters throughout Southern California, Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada, and its programs serve Asian and Pacific across the western half of the country.

JACL PSW envisions a socially just society where Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and other community members feel enfranchised, empowered and are free of prejudice and discrimination in all facets of society.

The mission of JACL PSW is to advocate for civil rights and a vibrant community (economically, socially and culturally) through empowerment and activism for Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and other disenfranchised communities.  

To learn more about the district, please visit: https://www.jaclpsw.org/


About JACL National


The Japanese American Citizens League is a national organization whose ongoing mission is to secure and maintain the civil rights of Japanese Americans and all others who are victimized by injustice and bigotry. The leaders and members of the JACL also work to promote cultural, educational and social values and preserve the heritage and legacy of the Japanese American community.

JACL is the largest and oldest Asian American civil rights grassroots organization. The Venice-West LA Chapter was founded in 1936.

Founded in 1929, the JACL is the oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization in the United States. The JACL monitors and responds to issues that enhance or threaten the civil and human rights of all Americans and implements strategies to effect positive social change, particularly to the Asian Pacific American community.

The JACL and the Japanese American community are continuously affected by changes in the political environment and in demographics. Our society continues to be impacted by the events of September 11, 2001, which created a worldwide climate of uncertainty and insecurity where we must reconcile the proper balance between issues of national security and our civil liberties. We are also affected by the changing demographics of race, ethnicity and age.

Looking to our future, the JACL constantly assesses the effectiveness of its role in Japanese American, Asian Pacific American and civil rights communities, and what infrastructure is necessary to effectively support our mission and efficiently achieve our goals. Today, with inter-racial and multi-ethnic marriages changing the face of the Japanese American community, the JACL faces additional challenges in looking to its future and to the future of the Japanese American community.

To learn more about the national organization, please visit: https://jacl.org/about/