Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month – a month to celebrate and honor the diverse histories, contributions, experiences, and traditions of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States!

Here are some ideas of how you can celebrate in the comfort and safety of your home:


Resources for COVID-19 Crisis

General Help


Details:  Connects people with health and social service organizations including childcare and parenting assistance, utility assistance, food assistance, emergency management, food assistance, housing and shelter assistance, and health assistance.

Call:  211 or 1-866-698-6155
Text:  your zip code to 898211

PDX Covid-19 Mutual Aid Network

Details: A grassroot effort of volunteers committed to assisting communities most impacted by COVID-19. They will do their best to let you know within 48 hrs if they are able to meet your needs.  For financial assistance with both paying and shopping for groceries, please fill out the following form:


Meals on Wheels

Details: Nutritious meals that are delivered weekdays between 10-2pm. Serves senior citizens living in Multnomah, Washington, and Clark Counties.  The cost of each meal is $7.39. Participants are asked to contribute to the cost of the meal.

Call 503-953-8111 or toll free at 866-788-6325
Register online at


Everything is normal with SNAP and benefits will continue to be available on their regular schedule. You do not need to go into a Department of Human Services office to get service. You can call 503-945-5600 to access an application (or you can apply online), submit information or paperwork, report changes and/or to conduct an interview.

Seniors or person with disabilities may also contact the Oregon Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) by calling the ADRC at 1-855-ORE-ADRC (1-855-673-2372) 

You can now use EBT to order food online through Amazon and Walmart for home delivery across Oregon. Please note that there are delivery fees (which SNAP benefits cannot pay for).

Utility Assistance

City of Portland ? Until further notice, Portland Water and BES will not disconnect water service for non-payment of sewer/stormwater/water bills. Customers are still responsible for sewer/stormwater/water charges due now accrued during this temporary suspension if you?re facing financial hardship: Call Customer Service at 503-823-7770 to work out a plan.  Apply for financial assistance at:

Northwest Natural– is suspending automatic service shutoffs in the event of nonpayment.  Customers should call (800) 226- 4211 and contact the billing department to make arrangements.

Portland General Electric (PGE)– is suspending non-payment disconnection. If you need help with your bill, please call to find a solution that fits your needs. Here are a few ways to get started if you need help paying your bill:

  • Need more time to pay?: You can request a payment extension 24/7 by logging in to your account or calling our automated phone system at the numbers below.
  • Need more help? Call to set up a payment plan and to get connected with energy assistance programs, if needed. You can call 503-228-6322 or 800-542-8818 Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Pacific Power– is “temporarily suspending disconnections and late fees for non-payment for customers in Oregon, Washington and California to support the state of emergency declared in all three states in response to the COVID-19 virus.” 

Customers can call 1-888-221-7070 at any time to speak with a customer care agent who can help answer any questions

COVID-19 Health Information and Health Care

For questions on the latest developments or how to minimize the impact of the pandemic, visit websites for the Centers for Disease Control and the Oregon Health Authority

Community members can also connect with 211info or by dialing 2-1-1 with questions about the coronavirus.

For medical emergencies, dial 911.

The main symptoms of  COVID-19 are:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath

Not everyone who is sick needs to be tested. Your local health department or health care provider can help you: 

  • Decide if you need an appointment, and
  • Plan to enter a clinic in a way that avoids possibly infecting others, if you do go in.

Folks can contact the Multnomah County Health Department at 503-988-3674

Reporting Hate or Bias Incidents in Oregon

If you are the victim of a hate or bias incident, please report it to the Oregon Department of Justice at  1-844-924-BIAS (2427). 

The hotline has trained staff available Monday-Friday, who will help victims connect with resources best suited to their needs.? Name calling and racist comments may not rise to the level of a criminal act but they are still hurtful and traumatizing.  

To report incidents of hate or racial bias, and/or to contact an organization for support, click here:  Report Hate

National JACL Uncategorized

Asian People Are Not a Disease

March 20, 2020

For Immediate Release

David Inoue, Executive Director
Sarah Baker, VP Public Affairs

As terms like ?Chinese Virus?, ?Wuhan Virus?, and ?Kung Flu? are increasingly used by the President and other leaders in our country, so do we see the increase of racially-based hate crimes and xenophobia against people of Asian descent. While President Trump has defended his usage of these types of terms, as ?not racist at all?, the impacts on our communities tell a different story.

Since as early as January, Asian-owned businesses have been seeing drastic decreases in sales, to the point that some have had to permanently close. New York City has seen a significant rise in violence against Asians, ranging from verbal abuse to physical assault, including a man chasing an Asian woman through the subway station before beating her. In San Francisco a woman was spit on and screamed at by a man on the street, forcing her to flee to a nearby business to escape further attack. These types of incidents are only going to increase as rhetoric that points the finger at the Chinese, and more broadly Asians, continues to escalate.

Asians, especially East Asians, are being labeled as dirty, uncivilized, and animalistic based on cultural generalizations. Senator Cornyn (TX) blamed the Chinese for causing COVID-19 because of the stereotype of a diet of animals exotic to American palates. This type of fear-based inductive reasoning hearkens back to moments in our history like the Chinese Exclusion Act and the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans, when people of Asian descent were targeted by our government through racist policies.

People of Asian descent are no more likely to be carriers of COVID-19 than anyone else: viruses do not see race. The negative and in some cases violent reactions Asians have been experiencing serve as a reminder that we are seen as the perpetual foreigner. It doesn?t matter how many generations our families have been here or if we have just recently immigrated, we are continually labeled as ?other?. Had COVID-19 originated in a predominantly white country, the story would have looked a lot different.

This harmful narrative that is being divisively used by our government leaders is creating wide-spread hatred and fear against Asians that will have long lasting impacts on our community. As businesses close and racist attacks continue, we call on our leaders to use language that does not cast blame on Asian people. COVID-19 is a global pandemic that impacts all of us equally. It should be called by its scientific name, not a colloquialism that is harming the Asian people.


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.

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.

National JACL

Prepared Statement on Expansion of the Muslim Ban

JACL Denounces Expansion of the Muslim Ban

January 31, 2020

For Immediate Release

David Inoue, Executive Director, 202-223-1240

Sarah Baker, VP Public Affairs

Today?s addition of Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania expands he number of countries affected by the Muslim Ban to 13. Similar to the first ban, the people impacted are predominantly Muslim. But these new additions will also affect those fleeing persecution in places such as Myanmar. That these announcements have come in the same week as the three year anniversary of the issuance of the first Muslim Ban and Holocaust Memorial Day is reprehensible. We cannot recall the holocaust without acknowledging our country?s role in refusing holocaust refugees entry. As we now repeat the same mistake through this expanding and misguided policy, it would behoove us to question its validity and effectiveness. Since the implementation of the first Muslim Ban, families have been forced to live apart, college student?s studies have halted, and lives have even been lost because of the restrictions. What has this ban truly done to protect our country?

The ban is a source of particular pain to the Japanese American community. The Supreme Court upheld the ban in its 2018 decision on the basis of national security. This was the exact same rationale used to uphold the World War II incarceration of nearly 120,000 people, many of whom were citizens, because of our national ancestry. The fact that Chief Justice Roberts went out of his way to repudiate the Korematsu decision was ironic in the decision?s reaffirmation of discrimination on the basis of national origin under the guise of national security. In neither case has the government been able to prove an actual security threat.

The expansion of the Muslim Ban continues a pattern of discrimination by this country against communities of color as also seen in the policies of family separation and incarceration, changes to the public charge definition, and most recently, subjecting American citizens of Iranian ancestry to additional screening at the Canadian border. Having experienced the sting of restrictions on Asian immigration in the past, JACL opposes these broad attacks on immigration which stand in direct opposition to the ideals upon which this country was founded that we have yet to truly uphold.


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.

National JACL Uncategorized

Prepared Statement on Increased Screening of Iranian Americans

JACL Concerned by Reports of Increased Screening Procedures for Iranian American Citizens at the U.S./Canadian Border

January 6, 2020

For Immediate Release

David Inoue, Executive Director, 202-223-1240

Sarah Baker, VP Public Affairs

Washington, DC – This past weekend, reports of increased screening of Iranian Americans returning to the United States from Canada arose late Saturday night and early Sunday morning. Although individuals were not officially detained or taken into custody according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP), it is clear that many U.S. citizens of Iranian descent were subjected to additional screening that non-Iranian citizens were not.

JACL denounces this expansion of screening and further questioning based solely on Iranian heritage. Our country should have learned its lesson when it targeted Japanese Americans because of our ancestry. We must not repeat the mistake of casting suspicion on American citizens simply because of their family?s country of origin. Racist discrimination should not be institutionalized under the guise of national security interests.

CBP seems to be seeking cover by claiming to have not detained or ordered for the detention of any individual, but has made no comment in regards to the extended questioning and screening procedures. We call upon CBP to immediately halt any discriminatory policies singling out travelers solely for their Iranian heritage. If CBP did not issue orders for additional screening, it must conduct an immediate investigation as to why additional screenings were required for Iranian Americans crossing the border.


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.




The Unequal Impacts of Nuclear Weapons

Tuesday, August 06, 2019 at 06:00 PM

Japanese American Historical Plaza in Portland, OR

The Unequal Impacts of Nuclear Weapons: Hiroshima & Nagasaki Memorial 2019

We hope that you will plan to join us on Tuesday, August 6th, 6:00 – 7:00 PM at the Japanese American Historical Plaza (NW Naito Parkway and Couch Street on the Portland waterfront) for the annual Portland-area Hiroshima and Nagasaki memorial event. This year’s event, The Unequal Impacts of Nuclear Weapons, will explore the disproportionate impacts that nuclear weapons have on women, children, indigenous communities, and communities of color.

Michiko Kornhauser, a hibakusha (atomic bomb survivor), will discuss her first-hand experiences as a young girl living near Hiroshima during and subsequent to the August 6th, 1945 bombing. Patricia Hoover, a Hanford Downwinder, will speak on the lasting health impacts of radioactive contamination that resulted from decades of nuclear weapons production at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation on the Columbia River near Richland, Washington. Our event emcee will be Kurt Ikeda, Education Manager at the Oregon Nikkei Endowment. Andrea Cano, Clinical and Palliative Care Chaplain with Providence Health & Services, will provide our opening event invocation. We will also be joined by Native American poet and storyteller Ed Edmo, who will offer an opening land acknowledgement statement. Special thanks to Andrew Tolman, who will be providing American Sign Language interpretation for this event.

The event will also build upon our recent success putting Oregon on record in support of the UN Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty and urging Congress to lead a global effort to reduce the threat of nuclear war. Introduced at the request of Oregon PSR, Senate Joint Memorial 5 calls out the injustice and harm that nuclear weapons have caused through the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, uranium mining on indigenous lands, weapons testing in the Pacific Islands, and contamination of our own region from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The passage of this historic legislation, which was supported by 31 organizations around the state, makes Oregon the second state in the nation to join this growing movement of local governments to support the Ban Treaty.

This event is free and open to the public, and donations are gratefully accepted. Please mark your calendars and plan to join us on Tuesday, August 6th in remembering the victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, learning more about the unequal impacts of nuclear weapons, and taking action for a nuclear-free future.

We look forward to seeing you on August 6th!

This event is co-sponsored by Oregon PSR, Multnomah Meeting of Friends, Oregon Hiroshima Club, Oregon Nikkei Endowment, Peace and Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group, Portland JACL, Portland Pearl Rotary, Veterans for Peace Chapter 72, and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, among others. Special thanks to our media sponsor, KBOO Community Radio.

Download the event flyer and help us spread the word!

Join and share this event on Facebook! (show less)


The Wishes of Small Children

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)