1,000 Cranes Presented as Symbol of Friendship and Solidarity Between Japanese American and Muslim American Community

 Japanese American youth and former WWII incarcerees, Venice-West LA JACL Board Members and Camp Musubi present 1,000 Cranes to King Fahad Mosque of Culver City.

Japanese American youth and former WWII incarcerees, Venice-West LA JACL Board Members and Camp Musubi present 1,000 Cranes to King Fahad Mosque of Culver City.

Venice, California – On Sunday, September 10, 2017, Japanese Americans from the Venice and West Los Angeles community presented 1,000 origami cranes to the neighborhood King Fahad Mosque of Culver City as a symbol of friendship, solidarity for peace and the promise to safeguard civil rights for all. The “1,000 Cranes: Solidarity, Vigilance & Peace” program took place in front of a nearly 10-foot-tall monument dedicated to former World War II incarcerees from the Venice area.

“Today, we stand in solidarity for the protection of civil rights for everyone,” said Amy Watanabe, event organizer and chapter board member of the Venice-West Los Angeles Japanese American Citizens League. Noting that this year marked the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 that allowed for the unlawful incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans on the West Coast, Watanabe said the event served as a reminder to “connect our stories and experiences to the present day.”

The 1,000 cranes were presented to Mohammad Abdul Aleem on behalf of the King Fahad Mosque of Culver City in a show of support to the Muslim American community. The cranes, regarded in Japanese culture as a symbol of world peace, were folded in August at a family cultural event that drew dozens of children and their families to the Venice Japanese Community Center.

In January, President Trump signed Executive Order 13769, issuing a travel ban affecting six majority-Muslim nations. The constitutionality of the Executive Order, also referred to as the Muslim travel ban, will be heard on October 10 by the Supreme Court. Keynote speaker, former California State Assemblymember Warren Furutani, included in his remarks, “It’s not much to connect the dots between the same thing that happened to Japanese Americans, who were incarcerated because of their ethnicity. When you look at those realities, and we look at connecting the dots of social justice and civil rights, you see that we’re talking about people coming together, bringing our issues together, and fighting together around making this America that we want for all people.”

Keynote speakers included former state Assemblymember Warren Furutani and activist and storyteller Taz Ahmed, co-founder of #GoodMuslimBadMuslim podcast. The program also included Len Nguyen, representing Los Angeles Councilmember Mike Bonin; Stephanie Nitahara, National JACL Associate Director; Tony Osumi, director of Camp Musubi; and Phyllis Hayashibara, member of the Venice Japanese American Memorial Monument Committee.

The 9½-foot-tall black granite monument on the northwest corner of Venice and Lincoln boulevards was dedicated in April and marks the corner where 1,000 Japanese Americans reported to after being forcibly removed from their homes and then sent directly to Manzanar internment camp. Two of the former incarcerees, Mae Kakehashi and Arnold Maeda, were in attendance.

The program included a taiko performance by the Nakama Daiko group of Torrance. Members of the Venice Hongwanji Buddhist Temple Girl Scout Troop 5325, who were part of the crane-folding event, led the gathering of over 75 in the Pledge of Allegiance.

For more photos, visit our Facebook album.

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1,000 Cranes: Community Art Project

"What does community mean to you?"

This is the question we posed to our youth and future leaders of tomorrow at the 1,000 Cranes: Family Fun Day on August 24, 2017. Want to be a part of our online community art project? Download the "mon" template here and email venicewlajacl@gmail.com your scanned image, and we'll add it to our Facebook page and website!

Artists are youth and families from the Venice-West LA area.

1,000 Cranes: Family Fun Day Recap

 Attendees learning how to make musubi. Check out our facebook page for more photos!

Attendees learning how to make musubi. Check out our facebook page for more photos!

We partnered with Camp Musubi to host the 1,000 Cranes: Family Fun Day on Sunday, August 27. There was a great turn out of over 25 families who came out to explore Japanese American culture and history through various kid-friendly activities.

Attendees learned how to fold cranes, make musubi and learned about Japanese American and local history with Camp Musubi and its director Tony Osumi. Families also participated in our community art project, "What does community mean to you?" Check out our Facebook and website to see photos from the day and the online installation of our community art project! 

We also completed folding 1,000 cranes that will be presented on September 10, 2017 at 1:30pm at the Venice Japanese American Memorial Monument site on the northwest corner of Venice and Lincoln. The 1,000 cranes will be presented to the King Fahad Mosque of Culver City as a symbol of peace, love and hope between the Japanese American and Muslim American community. Featured keynote speakers for the 1,000 Cranes: Solidarity, Vigilance and Peace are former Assemblymemember Warren Furutani and community activist and storyteller Tanzila "Taz" Ahmed.

For pictures from our family event, please visit and like our facebook page: www.facebook.com/VeniceWLAJACL

My Internship Experience with the Venice-West LA JACL

 At the interactive exhibit at Go For Broke

At the interactive exhibit at Go For Broke

In March of 2017 I applied for the Kizuna NCI Internship.  I was nearing the end of my first year at UCLA where I study Fine Art and Asian American Studies and I wanted to become more involved in the API community in Los Angeles, especially the Japanese American community, since I grew up in San Francisco and had no previous involvement with Los Angeles.  I also wanted to gain some internship experience, as I this is my first internship and I wanted to have one that was meaningful to me and this community.

I was placed at the Venice-West LA Chapter of the JACL and the main objective of the work I do is to bring the chapter up to date in terms of technology and design to make it more accessible and appealing to the younger generation of Japanese Americans.  I have primarily worked on designing a website for the recently merged Venice-West LA chapter of the JACL, designing an email newsletter and various flyers for future events that the chapter has planned.

The NCI program also includes weekly Intern Days in which we learn about professional skill and visit important Japanese American organizations in the LA area and learn about the work they do in their community.  We have gone on a historical tour of Little Tokyo, visited the Go For Broke Museum, the Asian American Studies Department at UCLA, the Gardena Valley Japanese Community Japanese Community Institute and many more. These Intern Days have been a nice addition to my internship work as it is more of a traditional learning program as supposed to the more hands on and practical experience I have gained in my work with the Venice-West LA JACL

Throughout the internship I have worked in the Kizuna office in Little Tokyo, as the Venice-West LA chapter of the JACL doesn’t have any permanent staff or office.  So most of the work I have done has been remote with the help of Amy Watanabe, Vice President of the chapter.  Initially, this was very strange and I didn’t fully understand how to be efficient with my time or solve problems independently.  However, as the the internship has progressed I have adapted and that ability to work independently has been one of the greatest lessons that I have learned from this internship.

Overall, through the internship I have learned not only how to work independently but also much about web design and graphic design as well as helped me get involved in the LA Japanese American community and make connections with amazing people here.  After this internship is over I hope to stay involved with the Venice-West LA JACL and the larger Japanese American community throughout my college career and after I graduate as well.  

 

48th Annual JACL National Convention in Washington, D.C.

 Delegates Amy Watanabe & Keith Kawamoto

Delegates Amy Watanabe & Keith Kawamoto

Washington, D.C. - The JACL National hosted the 48th Annual National Convention, "Our Story: Resilience, Remembrance, Resolve," in Washington D.C. from July 6-9, 2017. Boardmembers Keith Kawamoto and Amy Watanabe represented the Venice-West LA Chapter serving as this year's voting delegates.

In remembrance of the 75th anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's signing of Executive Order 9066, which forced 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry into incarceration camps without due process, the 2017 Convention featured an Opening Reception with an exclusive viewing of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, "Righting a Wrong," highlighting the experience of Japanese Americans during World War II. Original pages from the Executive Order 9066 on loan from the National Archives were displayed during the private reception.

The Embassy of Japan hosted a private reception for JACL Convention attendees at the Ambassador's Residence. During the Reception, the Governor Ralph L. Carr Courage Award was presented to Wade Henderson, the outgoing president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, for his lifetime of service in support of civil rights. Former Governor Ralph Carr advocated for the Constitutional rights of Japanese Americans and encouraged the state of Colorado to welcome Japanese Americans following Pearl Harbor. The prestigious Governor Ralph L. Carr Award honors outstanding leaders who personify his legacy of working towards racial justice and promotion of civil rights.

 Awardees and dignitaries at the private reception hosted by the Embassy of Japan at the Ambassador's Residence. From left to right: Wade Henderson, Bill Yoshino, Secretary Norman Mineta, Embassy of Japan's DCM Oike, JACL National President Gary Mayeda, Embassy of Japan's Minister Sasayama.

Awardees and dignitaries at the private reception hosted by the Embassy of Japan at the Ambassador's Residence. From left to right: Wade Henderson, Bill Yoshino, Secretary Norman Mineta, Embassy of Japan's DCM Oike, JACL National President Gary Mayeda, Embassy of Japan's Minister Sasayama.

Long-time JACL staffer Bill Yoshino was also presented the Foreign Minister's Award by the Government of Japan to celebrate his longstanding dedication to restoring and protecting the rights of Japanese Americans. Bill Yoshino retired this year after 38 years of distinguished service, serving JACL in many capacities as Midwest Regional Director, Interim Executive Director and his instrumental work for JACL’s Redress Campaign and education programs.

 From left to right: Keith Kawamoto; Amy Watanabe; Karen Korematsu, civil rights leader and President of the Korematsu Institute; Nisha Ramachandra, Policy Director for the National Council for Asian Pacific Americans; and Floyd Mori, past JACL National President and JACL Executive Director Emeritus.

From left to right: Keith Kawamoto; Amy Watanabe; Karen Korematsu, civil rights leader and President of the Korematsu Institute; Nisha Ramachandra, Policy Director for the National Council for Asian Pacific Americans; and Floyd Mori, past JACL National President and JACL Executive Director Emeritus.

At the Sayonara Banquet, the JACL President's Award was presented to Joan Bernstein and Angus Macbeth (posthumously) for their work with the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) and their contributions to seeking truth and justice. The JACL President's Award recognizes individuals with outstanding national leadership in promoting civl and human rights.

The CWRIC was established by Congress to review the facts and circumstances surrounding Executive Order 9066 and held hearings across the country and heard from over 750 witnesses, most of whom were incarcerees. In its final report, the CWRIC stated that thy fund no persuasive evidence of a military or security threat from Japanese Americans and concluded that the cause of exclusion and incarcerations was the result of "...race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership." Ms. Jodie Bernstein served as Chairperson of the Commission and Mr. Macbeth served as Special Counsel. 

To view photos from all the events, please visit: https://jacl.org/2017convention/