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Blog Events

Portland JACL Book Club

Join us in coming together as a community and spending time discussing and reflecting on ‘How to be an Antiracist’ by Ibram X. Kendi. Virtual Meetings on Tuesdays from 6:30-7:30 pm held the following dates:

  • January 25th Chapters 1 – 4: Definitions: DuelingConsciousness, Power & Biology
  • February 22nd Chapters 5 – 8: Ethnicity, Body,Culture & Behavior
  • March 29th Chapters 9 – 12: Color, White, Black& Class
  • April 26th Chapters 13 – 16: Space, Gender,Sexuality & Failure
  • May 24th Chapters 17 & 18: Success, Survival & Wrap-Up

Learn more, register for the zoom link and request a free copy of the book at: https://tinyurl.com/PDXJACLBookClub

Questions? Email contact@pdxjacl.org

Categories
Blog Election

Candidate Bios

Board Members for the 2022-23 Term

Jeff Matsumoto

President – Jeff Matsumoto

Jeff Matsumoto is a Yonsei born and raised in Lodi, CA. He has worked as an elementary teacher since moving to Oregon in 2000. He looks forward to continuing the work started by the Portland JACL since joining the board a little over 2 years ago with a focus of greater membership engagement and strengthening our ties in the AAPI Community.

Chris Lee

Vice President – Chris Lee
I’m a fifth-generation, multiracial Asian American. Currently I am serving as Co-President for Portland JACL and am seeking a 5th term on the board to continue ongoing work with the finance committee and Mochitsuki. My academic background includes a Bachelor’s degree in Asian Studies, a Master’s degree in International Management, and I have over ten years of experience in the energy industry.

Heidi Tolentino

Secretary – Heidi Tolentino
Heidi Tolentino has been on the Portland JACL board for 11 years and is the current secretary of the chapter. She works as a high school counselor at Cleveland High School in Portland and was a high school English teacher prior to becoming a counselor. Heidi has a 12-year-old daughter, Malia, who is part of the Portland Public School Japanese
Immersion Program and has been married to her husband, Patrick, for 23 years.

Setsy Sadamoto Larouche

Membership Chair – Setsy Sadamoto Larouche
I would be honored to be your Membership Chair again as Portland has continued to be the largest Chapter in the Nation to include the one Chapter in Tokyo. I’m a product of Nisei Kibei parents from Hiroshima, Japan and we moved back to PDX when I was a child. My bachelor’s degree is in education and my master’s is in logistics. As a retired US Army Quartermaster Officer, I would like to continue my volunteer service to our community.

Jillian Toda-Currie

Treasurer – Jillian Toda-Currie
Jillian Toda-Currie is a fourth-generation Japanese American who grew up in The Dalles, near where her grandparents had a farm and cherry orchard. Jillian currently does marketing research in the healthcare industry. She has volunteered with various organizations in the Portland area including APANO, Minoru Yasui Student Contest, and Impact NW. She is the current Treasurer for the Portland JACL board.


Board Members at Large

Sachi Kaneko

Board Member – Sachi Kaneko
I am a fourth-generation, mixed-race Japanese American and Jewish American. I have been passionate about social justice since I was in high school and have found various ways to stay involved with our
community over the years. I have served for four years on the Portland JACL board. If reelected, I hope to keep serving our community as well as continue advocacy work for BLM, LGBTQIA+ communities, indigenous communities, and other minority groups.

Weston Koyama

Board Member – Weston Koyama
Descended from Japanese immigrants, Weston Koyama is
a fourth-generation Japanese American. Weston maintains a passion
for Japanese culture, speaks Japanese fluently, and strives to foster connections with Japan. He seeks to help the JACL continue its tradition of social justice advocacy as a voice for the Japanese American community. Weston is an Oregon lawyer and a graduate of the U.O. Law School. His hobbies include languages, piano, and
currently studies Cantonese.

Spencer Uemura

Board Member – Spencer Uemura
I am a Yonsei/Shin-Nisei from the Los Angeles area, but I’ve been in Portland for four years. By profession, I’m a mental health therapist,
drawn into this work by a passion for stories and connection. Lately, I have been enjoying documenting my family’s history and requesting and translating koseki (family registry documents) from Japan. I’ve been eager for an opportunity to give back to the Nikkei community, so I’m honored to be considered for the JACL board.

Connie Masuoka

Board Member – Connie Masuoka
I am a Portland born sansei with over 40 years invested in the Portland JACL. You might say I was born in to JACL, as my parents were both active JACL members. My avocation is being the Oregon group leader to the annual Minidoka Pilgrimage and my regular job is being a general dentist in Portland.

Amanda Shannahan

Board Member – Amanda Shannahan
Amanda Shannahan is a mixed-race yonsei. She currently serves as Portland JACL copresident and leads our chapter’s Advocacy Committee. She is passionate about community organizing and working with other marginalized communities to achieve social justice. Amanda is a strong advocate for equity in our education systems and has a background in supporting schools to be
anti-racist and anti-oppressive. She currently works at the Oregon Health Authority promoting access to sex education across
the state.

Marleen Wallingford

Board Member – Marleen Wallingford
I am a Sansei who was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. My first job was working as a clerk in my father’s bakery in Hillsdale. I graduated from the University of Oregon with a master’s degree in speech and language pathology and worked for almost 30 years
for Portland Public Schools. As a retired educator, I became active with the Portland JACL, volunteer at the Japanese American
Museum of Oregon and am a court appointed advocate for children in the foster care system.

Jenny Yamada

Board Member – Jenny Yamada
As a fourth-generation Japanese American who grew up in Corvallis, I wasn’t able to be part of the JA community outside of family gatherings. Inspired to make more connections, I joined the Portland JACL Board in 2020. During my first term, I updated the website, helped implement the email newsletter and participated in the Newsletter and Advocacy Committees. Besides serving on the board, I volunteer at JAMO as a docent and work at a local marketing agency.

Categories
Blog Events

Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month 2021

Happy API Heritage Month! Here are some ways we’re celebrating this year.

Liberation in Practice: Anti-Racism Workshops for Asian & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

This May, the BIPOC community is invited to join APANO to dive deep with leading social justice experts and community-based organizations to expand our knowledge of anti-racism in theory, work, and practice.

Portland JACL is honored to work with APANO on the May 12 workshop dealing with the model minority myth. Check out the full schedule and sign-up!

Radical Self-Awareness Flyer

Member Spotlights

We’re also celebrating by spotlighting some of our members on Instagram and Facebook. During the month of May, we will be showcasing our diverse community of members to honor our histories and strengthen our connections.

We’re still looking for volunteers to be spotlighted! Are you willing to answer a few questions about yourself? Fill out our form today!

Categories
Blog Election

Voter Engagement

There are fewer than 100 days until the 2020 Presidential Election and with the mournful passing of civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis, we wanted to begin our efforts for voter engagement with Representative Lewis’ own words…

“My dear friends: Your vote is precious, almost sacred. It is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have to create a more perfect union.”

John Lewis
United States House of Representatives / Public domain

This champion of our voting rights compels every eligible voter to register and then vote in this upcoming election. You can check here to see if you are registered. You can update your voter information from this section of the Oregon Secretary of State website, as well.

Please join The League of Women Voters in partnership with Portland JACL at a virtual community meeting on October 10. The League of Women Voters will be providing information on the various measures on the November 2020 ballot (more information to follow). 

The deadline to register to vote in the 2020 Presidential Election is October 13. Register to Vote online.

It is our civic duty to vote. Congressman Lewis’ legacy demands no less!

Categories
Blog National JACL

Use of Federal Agents in Portland

JACL joins SEARAC, Other AAPI Orgs in Denouncing Use of Federal Agents in Portland 

July 28, 2020

Japanese American Citizens League Executive Director David Inoue said, “We denounce the mobilization of federal agents in Portland, and now other cities, under the false pretense to address urban violence and crime. Our federal agents should not be used as political props to antagonize cities because the president does not like the mayor’s political party. The president is unnecessarily placing the lives of both the officers and civilians at risk through these incursions worthy of the world’s worst dictatorships.”

Read the full statement >

Categories
Blog

2020 Census

If you haven’t already, now’s the time to fill out the 2020 census! Census takers will soon start going door-to-door across the country to interview homes that haven’t responded yet. 

Things to know:

Completing the census helps your household and community get its fair share of funding for important government services such as food assistance, maternal healthcare, LGBTQA+ youth programs, and affordable housing. The community makeup information from the census helps enforce anti-discrimination laws like the Voting Rights Act. It also ensures fair representation in government. Oregon stands to gain a Congressional seat as a result of this census.

It’s confidential. It’s your right to participate and when you do, federal law keeps your responses confidential for 72 years.

Be sure to count everyone living at your address on April 1, 2020. The constitution says the census counts everyone living in the United States — that includes young children, undocumented immigrants and their families.

Census links:

Count us in 2020 flyer with information from Asian Americans Advancing Justice

Categories
Blog Newsletter

Sato School in Bethany

Sato Elementary School opened in September 2017. The Bethany community was asked to submit names for the new Beaverton school and the overwhelming choice was to recognize the Japanese American family who began farming in the area in 1926.

Sato School Memorial
Marleen Wallingford, Karen Sato and Ron Iwasaki at the Sato School dedication of the history of the Sato Family placed at the front of the school.

During World War II, the Sato Family was sent to Minidoka. Two sons, Shin and Roy, enlisted. Roy was wounded twice and received the Purple Heart. Shin was also a member of the Japanese American 442 Regimental Combat Team that took part in the heroic battle to save the Texas Battalion that was trapped in the treacherous Vosges Mountains. Nisei soldiers were able to overcome the German defenses. Shin posthumously received the Purple Heart as a result of that battle.

Karen Sato continues to remember her family. Her sister, Lois who passed away in 2013 was the last family member to live on the farm.

When Col. Mike Howard who lives in the area heard the story of the Sato Family, he wanted to make sure the community understood the historical significance of the heroism of Shin and the sacrifice the family suffered. He worked with the school’s principal, Annie Pleau to obtain Beaverton School District’s permission to place the plaque.

I was saddened when I first visited Sato School and there was no memorial. History is a fragile thing and I wanted the kids to know the truth … good and bad, so they can learn from it.

Col. Howard

It was a labor of love for Col. Howard. He grew up living next to the Shimotani Family in Ventura, California. This is where he first heard of the 442 and saw the film, “Go For Broke”. “I was saddened when I first visited Sato School and there was no memorial. History is a fragile thing and I wanted the kids to know the truth … good and bad, so they can learn from it.”

The bronze plaque was produced at a costof $6200. Skanska Construction donated the concrete base and backing at a value of$6200. Bethany Presbyterian Church had donated $3000 but funding still needs to be raised to cover the rest of the cost. The Portland JACL is helping with that effort.

Categories
Blog National JACL

JACL Statement on H.R. 40

JACL Executive Director, David Inoue, discusses JACL’s support of H.R. 40. H.R. 40 would create a commission to examine the institution of slavery, its legacy, and make recommendations to Congress for reparations, beginning a process of repairing and restoring after centuries of enslavement. You can click below if you want to sign up for emails specifically around JACL and H.R. 40.

Categories
Blog

Portland JACL in solidarity with Black lives

We, as the Portland JACL, send condolences to George Floyd’s family for his murder. We are saddened and outraged, yet we are not surprised. We recognize that the murder of Black and Brown people at the hands of police is part of an ongoing pattern that plagues our country and our city. While we mourn Mr. Floyd, we must also remember Keaton Otis, Quanice Hayes, Aaron Campbell, and Patrick Kimmons who are among the more than 14 African Americans killed by police in Portland since 1996.

Asian Americans for Black lives
Graphic courtesy of Kalaya’an Mendoza

We are in solidarity with the Portland protesters as they stand in opposition to police violence that disproportionately affects Black and Brown people. We demand justice for Black lives. At the same time, we know that we must grapple with the anti-Blackness that exists within our own community, our families, and ourselves. We commit to using our position as community leaders to engage our people in conversation and the necessary work of confronting ways in which we have benefited from the “model minority” myth and contribute to the perpetuation of anti-Black racism.

We know that this is a challenging time right now and that recent events are weighing heavy on peoples’ hearts and minds. We also know that neither sadness nor silence will bring about the change we so desire. We call on our community to take action to elevate Black voices seeking justice in this country. Will you join us?

Take action today:

  • Donate to a local Black-led fund or organizations:
  • Demand justice for:
    • George Floyd- Text FLOYD to 55156 to sign the petition
    • Breonna Taylor- Sign the petition
    • Ahmaud Arbery- Text JUSTICE to 55156 to sign the petition
Community Letter
Categories
Blog National JACL

Our Outrage for George Floyd’s Murder is Not Enough

June 1, 2020
For Immediate Release
David Inoue, Executive Director, dinoue@jacl.org, 202-607-7273
Sarah Baker, VP Public Affairs, sbaker@jacl.org

It has been one week since George Floyd was lynched by four Minneapolis police officers. The death of George Floyd was preventable, as were the deaths of Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Nina Pop, Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed, Charleena Lyles, and countless other Black lives who have been lost to systemic racism in the United States.

Officer Derek Chauvin, now being charged with murder and manslaughter, was not alone in George Floyd’s murder. Also complicit were officers Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and most visibly, Tou Thao, an Asian American officer who, instead of using his authority to stop Chauvin, chose to enable and protect his partner. The JACL denounces the actions of Officer Thao and stands with the Black community in demanding justice for George Floyd and all Black lives.

We must recognize that as violence has erupted from the roots of peaceful protest, it reflects the violence we as a nation have inflicted upon the Black community in our 400-year history as a colonized nation. The genocide began with the colonization of Native American land, to the capture, indentured servitude, and enslavement of African peoples, to Jim Crow, and beyond. We continue to see the legacy of our traumatic history today in the inequities of COVID-19 as Black lives are disproportionately impacted by our failed healthcare system.