A Recap of the 42nd JACL National Convention

By Lindsey Sugimoto

Every two years, JACL hosts a National Convention. This year, the JACL 2011 National Convention was held from July 7, 2011 to July 10, 2011 at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel. The convention was held right at Hollywood and Highlands. Many know that cross street to be quite busy, yet that was not the only busy thing. During the four-day convention, the Renaissance Hollywood was filled with JACL members, community leaders, and students eager to get involved. During this conference, much focus was placed on how to get the youth involved in the community. Currently, the JACL PSW chapter hosts Youth CAN, a program to engage high school students into the Japanese American community. Meeting once a week, students have workshops and projects that build their knowledge and passion for the community. The Youth CAN students came to the conference. As they sat through workshops dealing with Art and Culture to Civic Engagement and Leadership, the students took away new outlooks on the community and gained a passion to get involved.

As both a Youth CAN alumni and Nikkei Community Intern, I attended the conference. On July 9, 2011, I first attended the opening panel, consisting of various members of the community, like Alan Nishio and Craig Ishii to name a couple. The opening session entertained the idea that the convention is an opportunity to find out where the community is and where it should be going. After the opening panel, there were several workshops available that people could attend. Having an interest in both Civil Rights and Civic Engagement and Leadership, I attended both workshops. The Civil Rights workshop was set up more like a panel, whereas the other workshop was more caucus style. These workshops gave me a better understanding of the community and what needs to be done. Though I was much younger than most of the attendees, I felt empowered to take a part of the community and become a leader. Just like me, many participants of Youth CAN, had the same reaction to the convention. The 2011 National Convention served as a great opportunity for community members and youth to become involved in the community