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Unite People: <br>At the 2012 JACL National Convention

Unite People: <br>At the 2012 JACL National Convention

Portland JACL Unite People

Portland JACL youth members at the Aloha Welcome Mixer

On July 5, twelve members of Unite People got up early to board a 15 passenger van with their advisor, Connie Masuoka and Mom/Co-Pilot, Patty Locke to attend the National JACL Convention 2012 in Bellevue Washington. On the way to the convention we toured the Music Experience and Science Fiction museums in Seattle. We spent 2 ½ days intensely involved in the convention where our Unite People members got to meet JACL youth from across the country, attend various workshops, and see democracy in action during the business meetings. They were also able to exercise their leadership skills by hosting a nonscheduled mixer for the youth attending the convention. On the way home we took the ferry to Bainbridge Island for a personally guide tour by Lilly Kodama, Dr Frank Kitamoto, Clarence Moriwaki and other residents of Bainbridge Island of the Bainbridge Island Historical Society Museum and also the beautiful and inspiring Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial.

Unite People was able to attend the convention by fundraising through numerous events such as the wreath sale and chili feed, and the gracious sponsorship of the Portland JACL. We are very thankful to the chapter for their financial support and encouragement and to the people of the community who supported them in their fundraising endeavors. I have included the brief reflections of the UP members who attended the convention.

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The JACL Annual Convention experience was fantastic. The event was really well planned. I got to meet a lot of interesting people, youth and adults, from around the northwest and across the country. One of the most memorable moments from the convention was when a few adult JACL members taught the youth to swing dance. I will never forget the laughter and smiles from that night. None of this would have been possible without the help and support of the community and the Portland Chapter of JACL. Thank you.

Meredith Loy
Student, Oregon Episcopal

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The national JACL convention really made me realize how much of a large community I am involved in. Being at the workshops and meetings and seeing all of the representatives from all over the country made me feel like I am part of something greater. I learned a variety of new things from the workshops especially from the people that were interned at the camps. Each one of them had multiple stories to tell and the more stories I hear, I develop a better understanding of how it must have felt for the interned. I really enjoyed the workshops mostly because they varied from different topics from the Minidoka camps to learning how to be smart about buying your first car. But for me, the best part of this convention was the connections I got to make. Through the many events, I got to meet kids my age doing the same exact thing I am doing at different parts of the country. I also met many inspiring young professionals that are still involved in the JACL, which motivated me to be a part of this powerful community past my high school years. Overall the national convention was an amazing opportunity for me to network, meet new people, and be educated which made this trip a memorable experience. I am very thankful for the Portland Chapter of the JACL for all of their support and giving us, Unite People, for this opportunity and experience.

John Rojas
Student, Franklin High School
Class of 2014

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After attending the 43rd Annual JACL convention, I realized how active and resilient the Japanese-American community is. For me, going from knowing hardly any Japanese-Americans in my area last year to being a part of a JACL convention full of proud Japanese-Americans was quite a shock. Everyone was extremely kind to one another and the automatic bond between everyone was wonderful. It gave me a strong sense of belonging and made me want to become more in touch with my Japanese side.

Emi Hirsh
Student, Grant High School

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Going to the JACL convention, I realized that there was so much for me to learn about JACL and all they have to offer. I had very little knowledge of just what goes on nationally with the organization when I first came in, so coming out of the convention, I got a better idea of what there is. Along the way, I got to meet all sorts of people from all over, and learned about partnerships that JACL has. From a partnership the JACL had with the EPA, I was given a once in a life time opportunity to go to the Minority Youth Environmental Training Institute and further pursue a career and subject that is very dear to my heart. With that, I want to thank all those who made it possible for the Portland Youth Chapter to go to the 2012 JACL convention.

Kristi Fukunaga
Student, Wilson High School
Class of 2013

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This year”s convention was a great experience. It allowed me to reconnect with old friends from the convention I attended in 2010, as well as make new friendships with new people. I was truly glad to see an incredible increase in the attendance of youth members from all over the West Coast. One of the best moments from the trip was dancing with The Minidoka Swing Band. I haven”t dance with them since my first trip to Minidoka four years ago. I think my dancing skills have increased since then. I may have been scaring everyone with my wild moves. In the end, this trip was a fantastic experience and I can not wait till the next convention comes around and I can attend.

Schafer Durgan
Student, Portland State University

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This was the first convention I have ever attended, but I was amazed by the organization and commitment it required to put it all together. I gained a lot of insight from attending the workshops, and it made me realize how important it is to spread the word and get more people involved in JACL. Going to this convention helped me feel a sense of community; I felt this especially when meeting the youth at the orientation dinner, and getting to know them through the luncheons and other numerous events. We were even able to host a bonding night for the youth where we spent the night playing games and eating snacks off of an inflatable Hello Kitty. On the last night, we finished the trip with a fun game of sardines. Everyone was so friendly, and I loved meeting new people from around the country. To the community and members of the Portland JACL: thank you so much for making this trip possible for Unite People, and giving us the opportunity for a great experience.

Laura Suzuki
Student, Lake Oswego High School
Class of 2013

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The JACL National Convention of 2012 was a unique experience that I was glad to have. I learned much about what it means to be a part of the JACL and how important it is to be active in this community. I was able to see democracy in action and watch as delegates voted, vetoed, and passed bills that influence our chapters. One thing that occurred is that the JACL is such a large group and people from all over the country are active in it, not just the Northwest. It was great to see people from California and even Utah at the convention because it”s nice to know where people come from. It was also nice to get back to the roots of the JACL and see what it stands for, and from this I realize the privileges the Nisei have given up in the past so that I can have privileges in the future. The National Convention was something special and I am glad that I had a chance to go!

Corey Suyematsu
Graduate, Camas High School
Class of 2012

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One thought on “Unite People: <br>At the 2012 JACL National Convention

  1. JACL, sounds great. I haven’t attended yet but i will . The next Convention. See you there.I have traveled around the world but nothing like this sounds amazing. Meet lots of new people and get to know them. How about that. Will see you soon. Have a great life.

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