Washington, D.C. – On July 7, 2017, the Venice-West Los Angeles JACL Chapter presented the George Inagaki Chapter Citizenship Award to the Chicago Chapter. The Award recognizes the work of a model chapter in the areas of civil and social rights advocacy, community engagement and commitment to youth and leadership development.
The Chicago JACL Chapter was recognized for their continuous work in developing relevant and impactful programs and creating a strong leadership pipeline. Currently, over one-third of their Chapter Board is under 30 years old and many of JACL National's young leaders come have come from their chapter, such as Stephanie Nitahara (JACL National Associate Director), Rebecca Ozaki (Program Coordinator), Christine Munteanu (former Program Coordination), Kenji Kuramitsu (Youth Rep) and Brandon Mita (former JACL Legal Counsel). Chicago JACL's program have also been used as a model for JACL National programs, in particular the Kansha program. Through the Kansha Program, every year they bring 10 Chicago and Midwest 18-25 year olds to Little Tokyo in Los Angeles to learn about community history and visit Manzanar.
The George Inagaki Chapter Citizenship Award is named after George Inagaki, who is best known for serving as JACL National President from 1952 to 1956. In 1956, he was named the JACL Nisei of the Biennium. The George Inagaki Award was established in 1968 to honor Mr. Inagaki's many years of service and outstanding dedication to the national organization.