Why History Matters/UCI Day of Remembrance

college organizations are great

By, Craig Ishii

I’m always surprised when I run into mentors and people/situations which are inspiring to me. It think that’s one of the greatest things about life: the more you participate the more you learn and the more you’re inspired. I feel like we’re skewed into thinking that a mentor is supposed to be a long time connection whom is 20 years older than you and 40 years wiser. But i’ve come to learn that mentors come in all shapes, ages and sizes and in many cases for me, some of my most inspirational mentors are those who are actually younger.

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All those pretty memories

the maze that is our office

By Stacy Toyota

For those of you who don’t know, the JACL Pacific Southwest District office will be moving this week!  We’ll be moving from our current home in the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center to the Pacific Citizen office.  Even though their office is still down the street, this still requires us to pack up all of our stuff and have movers come pick all of our stuff up. Continue reading

A Toxic Political Climate

By: Kristin Fukushima

First and foremost, on behalf of the JACL Pacific Southwest District, I want to extend our deepest sympathies, condolences, and support for the victims of Saturday’s horrific shooting rampage. It was a senseless tragedy, with troublesome connotations for our country and political climate.

JACL is bipartisan non-profit organization. We do programs and advocacy for civil rights and social justice, but that’s not to say we identify outwardly with one party or another. So I want to be clear this is not an attack on Republicans or Democrats, but rather, a condemnation on the entire political system and climate (as both definitely engage in provocative behavior). For a very long time,  politics in the United States have become increasingly partisan, divided, extreme, and antagonistic. More terrifying is the increasing use of violent rhetoric and imagery, such as the infamous “don’t retreat, reload” sentiment that former Governor Palin has used quite often.

Yesterday we reached a boiling point – a gunman shot a Democratic Congressional Representative in Tucson, AZ in the head (who remains alive but in critical condition), and killed 6 people (including a 9-year old and a federal judge). Even if the shooter was not politically motivated, it is all too easy to link this incident to the ever-incendiary tone politicians, political pundits, and the rest of us have resorted to. And we’ve already seen something like this occur with the gunman who was caught on his way to attacking a nonprofit organization in the bay and identified Glenn Beck (a conservative political pundit) as his inspiration.

These are scary times we live in – we have an anemic economy, engagement in at least two wars, a broken political system, extreme disparities in wealth, health and resources,  nuclear proliferation, global warming, a broken education system, etc. The American people have every right to be angry and demand some sort of fix from our elected officials. But what JACL Pacific Southwest District would like to encourage is a peaceful approach to the issues, using dialogue and conversation to sort things out, rather than divisive fear- and hate-mongering.

I could stand on my soap box and rant about this topic forever, but instead I’ll close by reprinting the statement that National JACL sent out yesterday regarding the shooting:

“We urge all to re-examine the tactics of communicating disagreement and to use sensible debate and informed discussion without name labeling and blame gaming.  It is time to condemn those who, for ratings purposes or political advantage, fan the flames of hate and fear.  Hate has no place in the lives of those who follow any religious or moral code of behavior.  Hate is the engine that inspires acts that destroy lives and cause misery. Today we express our sympathies for today’s victims and their families.  May we meditate on the meaning of being a responsible citizen and a good neighbor.”

Seriously.

We Need More Friends

Making more friends

...Kristin smile! We need to make more friends!

Yes, you’re looking at this on your facebook News Feed. So help us make more friends! Did you also know we have a blog?? Tell a friend, sign up yourself for our newsletter or to our blog and be intrigued! We promise that our blogs will always be insightful and that our email newsletters will always be infrequent (2 times a month… no spam, we promise).

But alas, a blog is only as good as its readers and a facebook profile is only as good as it’s friends. So lets do this. If you see us on the Feed, suggest us as a friend, check out our blog, subscribe to our news letter, give us a shoutout!

Social Media and Community Organizing

By: Kristin Fukushima

So, originally I was going to talk about Little Tokyo and what’s going on with transit and the other issues in the community…. but then that got me thinking about the notion of blogging on these issues itself, and what that means. That is to say… I used to be pretty anti-social media, at least when it comes to any kind of ‘organizing.’ I felt like they were insufficient tools that were overly relied upon – like using a Facebook event as the primary (and/or sole) method of outreach. And while to an extent, I admit I still don’t totally trust things like blogging, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, I’ve seen that they can be effective. In fact, some of the major political movements of the last few years have organized and spread through these same sites (i.e. the Tea Party movement, the campaign of President Barack Obama, and the use of twitter or texting in other countries).

Furthermore, to piggyback off of Craig’s earlier post and the recent flurry of media attention to social networking – I think it’s finally time for naysayers like myself to recognize and concede that this is really how people interact these days and for the foreseeable future. And yes – social interacting does include community and political organizing. So given that my department is our Public Policy Advocacy (holler back if you are confused and need an explanation on what that means)… I probably should be utilizing social media tools to connect with y’all on what is up.

My question to the vast masses of the world (or you know, anyone reading this blog) is: how would you want to be connected to JACL Pacific Southwest District’s advocacy work?

That is to say… what works for y’all? And what is effective in general? Basically, while I’m totally sold on the concept of social media for social purposes (connecting to interact and share), I’m still trying to figure out how we at JACL Pacific Southwest District can use these same social networking sites effectively for the purpose of connecting, educating, and empowering folks to advocate on issues that affect our community. So you know… ponder that for a bit. Get back to me (leave a comment, okay?). Let me know what works for you personally, or any success stories you’ve seen.

Getting the JACL Pacific Southwest District to be a Little More Social

No don't go to sleep!!! We need to get more social!!!

By: Craig Ishii

What does getting more social even mean?

I recently had a revelation after attending a fantastic social media retreat, with one of JACL’s coalitions, where it was revealed to us that the internet “is not a bulletin board of updates and notifications” but instead “an increasingly interactive space for people and organizations to connect with each other and share experiences, events and thoughts.” Extremely excited about this information, I brought over to the JACL Pacific Southwest Staff only to be told….. “erm yeah Craig, no duh, that’s called web 2.0.” 25 years young (almost 26)….. and still behind the technological curve.

BUT, now is the time to for the JACL Pacific Southwest District to get more social and we need your help to get us there, we need to move to JACL 2.0. What are you thoughts?

Here’s what we have:

  • Email Newsletter (goes out once a month with our biggest updates)
  • Standard Website (also updated once a month with our biggest updates)
  • Facebook Page (that acts like a website)

Here’s what we do:

  • We update our online materials once a month and post them to our facebook page

Here’s what we brainstormed:

  • Email newsletters twice a month (1 blog newsletter, 1 standard newsletter)
  • Brand new website (going up Thursday of next week)
  • Creation of a twitter
  • More interaction on facebook & twitter: meaning, we want to hear feedback and we’ll be providing feedback to the feedback
  • THIS blog: with LOTS and LOTS of blogs weekly!

So what else do we need??? Enlighten us.
(ps. since we only have one subscriber to this blog…. me….I’ll probably post this entry again in a month or so)

Happy 2011.