JACL-PSW finished their Dr. Roy Nishikawa Oratorical last week! It was great to hear speeches from JACL youth and their ideas on how JACL can maintain their JA heritage while staying relevant to the larger AANHPI community. While it is important for JACL youth to think about these things since they are our future I also think it is important for staff to also think about it…
Japanese Americans now make up a small minority in the larger AANHPI population. Even the acronym has grown from API to AANHPI (Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander) to reflect the representation of such a diverse group. I believe that PSW has stayed relevant with youth programming that honors Japanese American history while addressing what is happening in our world today. But underneath the tangible aspects and the visible results, is there a message that should always be in the back of our minds while we’re juggling the logistics of multiple programs and events?
Coming from an Ethnic Studies background, I cannot help but reflect on what all these things have in common (youth, relevant programming, advocacy, and so forth…). They all build upon what we have learned in the past. Most importantly, these programs encourage learning, stepping out of your comfort zone and fostering a space for growth.
In short, keep learning. Keep stepping out of your comfort zone and reach out to different communities. The way stay relevant is to be relevant. And to me, being relevant is to keep learning.