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.

National JACL

The NO BAN Act

Sen. Chris Coons and Rep. Judy Chu Introduce NO BAN Act to Repeal Muslim Ban



On Wednesday, Sen. Coons (D-DE) and Rep. Chu (CA-27) announced the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants Act (the “NO BAN Act”) to challenge the administration’s Muslim ban. The act would repeal all versions of the Muslim ban, amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to protect against religious discrimination, and prevent similar bans in the future.

Among the others speaking at the event were the three Muslim members of congress, Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN-5), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), and Rep. Andre Carson (IN-7).

JACL stands in staunch support of the NO BAN Act, remembering the wartime consequences of unchecked xenophobia and executive branch overreach for our own community. As nearly no one stood to defend our rights during WWII, we stand today with nearly 400 organizations in opposition to the Muslim travel ban.

Read the full text of the bill here.

To contact your member of Congress to ask them to support the NO BAN Act visit Muslim Advocates NO BAN Act advocacy center.

(From JACL National Weekly Digest: April 16, 2019)

National JACL

New Zealand Terrorist Attack

Prepared Statement of David Inoue for CAIR Press Conference on Terrorist Attack on New Zealand Mosque

March 15, 2019

For Immediate Release

David Inoue, Executive Director, 202-223-1240

Good morning, my name is David Inoue, and I am the executive director for the Japanese American Citizens League. We are the oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization in this country.

It is with heavy heart that I come here today to stand with our friends in the Muslim community. What happened in New Zealand is unfortunately becoming too common an occurrence. It is unthinkable that nearly 100 people have been killed or injured in coordinated attacks on two different mosques, sacred places of worship.

We can make no mistake, the evil behind these attacks is too often rooted in white supremacy, exposed by the targeting of places of worship whether most recently a Muslim mosque in New Zealand, or Jewish Synagogue in Pittsburgh, or an African American church in Charleston, South Carolina, or a Sikh Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. For these killers, nothing is held sacred, and these targets are selected because of the religion they practice. This is not new, hatred and discrimination have a long history. But is shows we are not learning from our history.

The Japanese American experience is one where we were incarcerated because of who we are. But that didn’t happen just with the incarceration. It began with the subtle, and not so subtle, discrimination against Japanese Americans, against Chinese Americans, and Asian Americans. That’s what led to incarceration. We don’t have incarceration now, instead we have attempts at genocide, mass killings targeting specific minority groups, and that is clearly wrong.

With all the talk of immigrants invading our country, threatening our way of life, and the need to build a wall. It is the opposite. We now have a segment of our country that is eroding the ideals of what it means to be American from the inside. We are increasingly not a nation that stands for religious freedom, and diversity as memorialized in our first amendment. And it now appears, we are exporting that hatred and evil to other countries.

Today is Friday, it is the day of community worship in the Muslim community, and in fact, that time of prayer will be quickly approaching at the noon hour. We hope that Muslims around the world today can find strength in their community as they worship together and know that they are surrounded by a community of other faiths and beliefs that stands with them. Together, we will all continue to work together to eradicate Islamophobia and other forms of hatred that weaken us as a nation, and as a worldwide community.


The Japanese American Citizens League is a national organization whose ongoing mission is to secure and maintain the civil rights of Japanese Americans and all others who are victimized by injustice and bigotry. The leaders and members of the JACL also work to promote cultural, educational and 

social values and preserve the heritage and legacy of the Japanese American community.


For The Sake of the Children Film Screening and Panel Discussion