Categories
Annual Event Newsletter

Remembering and Repairing

Portland JACL’s Day of Remembrance Event 2022

Board Member Message by Jenny Yamada

Portland JACL hosted Day of Remembrance 2022 in-person at Kennedy School on February 26. The focus of the event was around a screening of Jon Osaki’s documentary film Reparations, which explores the present-day struggle for redress for Black Americans and the role that solidarity between communities has in breaking down systemic racism.

After the screening, Jon joined us as a panelist along with artist, organizer and member of Nikkei Progressives, traci kato-kiriyama (tkk). Nathan Soltz, Sen. Frederick’s Chief of Staff, joined in place of the senator. Ed Washington moderated the discussion. 

Our panelists stressed the importance of studying the past, paying attention to state and city politics, and keeping pressure on our representatives. The topic of reparations has been part of JACL National’s focus for several years. As the push to pass H.R. 40 continues, it’s important to recognize what is happening locally too. 

One of my takeaways from our DOR is that I need to pay more attention to and “study, study, study!” (as tkk put it during the panel) history. Part of this is educating myself more on racialized displacement in Portland and the history of Central Albina in particular. Portland prides itself in being progressive and equitable, but it doesn’t take much studying to see the cracks in that perception. 

One of the efforts in Portland around restitution for its Black residents involves a newly released report by students from Portland State University’s Urban and Regional Planning program. The report titled Reclamation Towards the Futurity of Central Albina: Dreamworld Urbanism was written in collaboration with the Emanuel Displaced Persons Association 2 (EDPA2), a group of residents and their descendents forcibly displaced from the Albina neighborhood with the expansion of Emanuel Hospital in the 1970s. It reinforces the decades-long effort from Portland’s Black community to get restitution for these families whose homes were demolished for the expansion project that was never built. We were fortunate to have Byrd from EDPA2 join us for DOR to give an overview of the history and the findings.

The report goes through demographic data from Central Albina over decades uncovering how urban renewal projects prevented Black residents from building wealth there. It includes a detailed impact analysis of quantifiable losses of about 300 homes and businesses demolished and makes a recommendation for payment using public data.

The report also describes what it calls “incurable loss,” acknowledging that there are spiritual and cultural impacts from the displacement that are harder to quantify. As Japanese Americans, we know this type of loss is difficult to account for and easy for those responsible to disregard. It also recognizes the community-enriching spaces lost forever to demolition like a public garden and a free health clinic, which sat on land that has been an empty lot for 50 years. 

Holding up Japanese American redress as an example, the report stresses that restitution for racialized harm is feasible. It calls on the city of Portland, Prosper Portland and Legacy Emanuel to acknowledge their role and answer for what was lost. Other cities have done it and it can be done here too. It’s more than possible and long overdue. 

The report concludes, “the hard work––the critical work––is not in saying we won’t do it again, it is in looking earnestly into the eyes of those harmed, acknowledging, apologizing, and doing what it takes to make it right.”

As a local chapter, we hosted this event as a way to not only continue the conversations around reparations for Black Americans, but to bring people together in the community to make important face-to-face connections. It inspired me to recommit to learning more, listening more and showing up in support and solidarity.


Related Links

Categories
Annual Event Events

DOR 2021 + Resource List

On February 20, we partnered with Vancouver NAACP to put on the virtual event Day of Remembrance 2021 “Redress and Reparations: Yesterday and Today”. If you weren’t able to attend live, you can watch the event recording.

Screen shot from webinar recording Day of Remembrance 2021 “Redress and Reparations: Yesterday and Today

We hope you will also join us in continuing to learn more about our histories, movements, and ways in which we can practice solidarity work together. Below are some resources to continue this journey.

Categories
Annual Event Events

Mochitsuki Headliner

Elena Moon Park is a classical trained musician, educator, and producer. She is co-Artistic Director of the Brooklyn-based arts organization Found Sound Nation, which uses collaborative music creation to connect people. She has found that working collaboratively is an effective way to tap the hidden potential of our communities and supports social justice.

Elena was born East Tennessee but both of her parents immigrated to the United States from South Korea in their mid-twenties. As a Korean American, she had a limited connection to her cultural background since
she lived in a small southern town with few Asian Americans. She felt disconnected from her Korean roots and has used folk music to explore her own story and ancestral heritage.

Elena Moon Park with kids

Elena will present special New Year’s and Japanese songs for this year’s Mochitsuki event on January 31 at 1pm. Please join us for this live virtual event on the Mochitsuki website.

Categories
Annual Event Blog Events

Day of Remembrance Event 2020

ALTERNATIVE FACTS: The Lies of Executive Order 9066
Portland Premiere

Date: Sunday, February 23
Time: 2:00 pm
Location: Performing Art Center PCC Sylvania Campus 12000 SW 49th Ave, Portland, OR accessible parking by PCC bookstore
Tickets: Free and open to the public
Limited seating

Event flyer

“ ALTERNATIVE FACTS: The Lies of Executive Order 9066” is an award-winning documentary which examines the fabricated evidence of espionage by Japanese Americans. This led to their forced removal and incarceration during World War II. Interviews illuminate the racism, xenophobia and backhanded political maneuvering that occurred.

The film also examines the parallels to the current climate of fear, the targeting of other vulnerable immigrant and religious communities, and the role media has played in vilifying people of color.

Categories
Annual Event

2019 Graduation and Scholarship Banquet

By Chip Larouche

Portland and Gresham-Troutdale Chapters of JACL, along with nine other Japanese American organizations and churches, held the 72nd annual Japanese American Graduation Banquet on May 5, 2019 at the Monarch Hotel in Clackamas, Oregon.  Seventeen High School Seniors from the greater Portland area were honored, and all of them received awards and/or scholarships totaling over $19,000.  The emcee was Chip Larouche, PNWDC Governor of JACL.  Also, in attendance was Consul General of Japan in Portland, Takashi Teraoka, who congratulated the seniors and wished them well.  There were over 185 people attending the banquet to support our community youth as they start their collegiate career. 

The keynote speaker for the event was Dr. Wynn Kiyama, the Executive Director of Portland Taiko, who gave an inspiring speech that compared his journey from college to where he is today and related that to some of the ideas that he had heard from the graduates as he chatted with them before the luncheon. 

Pictured below is the Class of 2019 that was honored at the event:
Front Row (L to R) Luke Wilson, Emily Ogawa, Lauren Yanase, Alexandra Tomita, Cinclair Mathies, Mili Nakamura, Erica Pasquantonio, Leonard Tanne, Michael Hasegawa

Back Row (L to R) Kent Ishida, Ella Hirata, Alyson Miura, Isaaiah Baltzel, Sean Cunningham, Yukaiya Nomoto, Kaito Wilson, Miles Takiguchi

Click on image to open it in a new window.