Marissa Kitazawa Named the New Associate Regional Director/Program Director for PSW

 The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) has named Marissa Kitazawa as the new Associate Regional Director/Program Director for the Pacific Southwest District (PSW). She will be responsible for the Pacific Southwest District and coordinating several youth programs.

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Come Join the PSW Family! JOB OPPORTUNITY

JACL PSW is currently looking for a new Program Associate of Community and Cultural Program.  This person would have the opportunity to coordinate, implement and plan several of our youth programs!!!

Oh What Fun! APPLY TODAY!  Click here for a job description and more information. 

Please send your cover letter and resume to

Sushi Service for Two?: Perpetuating the “Oriental” Stereotype

Came across this item on It’s a sushi set with none other than the derogatory “chinaman” image perched on a red plate complete with the notorious straw hat and slanted eyes.

The presence of this seemingly harmless plate raises many issues that we, as Asian Americans, are facing to this day. The image itself is reminiscent of how Asians and Asian Americans were portrayed and viewed as backwards, uncivilized creatures in the early 1900s incapable of becoming “American.” Seeing this image on a popular site, like target’s, hints subtly at the notion of the “perpetual foreigner” or forever yellow. Asian Americans are still seen as foreigners.

Another issue that is brought up is how racism is so ingrained in our culture that is goes unnoticed. When reading the comments on how “cute the set is” or “how it made a perfect gift for a couple because the wife was Japanese and they ate a lot of sushi” personally makes me cringe. We have come a long way from the days of blatant racism- the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, “yellow-face,” and Executive Order 9066. But this is a humble reminder of the work that still needs to be done for the Asian American community. Education and awareness is the first step and may still be the key to combating derogatory racial stereotypes.

Something as small as a plate still brings years of past racism to 2012.

What do you think? Do you feel that Asian Americans will be forever yellow?

Come Join us at The 27th Annual Asian Pacific American Awareness Conference !!

The 27th Annual Asian Pacific American Awareness Conference
January 28, 2012
UC Irvine Student Center

The 27th Annual Asian Pacific-Islander American Awareness Conference (APAAC) is a day-long event devoted to addressing the issues and redressing the questions raised in the contemporary society of the United States. This year’s theme is “The Movement: Then and Now.” This year we explore cross-cultural activism, intersections of struggles faced by People of Color, and the need to bring back the foundations of the Asian Pacific-Islander American Movement to address the issues that pervade our communities today.

Any questions or comments can be sent to

Online Registration:
Early Registration (until January 23, 2012) – $7
Late/On-site Registration – $10
Discounts for delegations of 10 people or more.

Registration includes all conference events, workshops, breakfast, lunch, and the concert.

“17 year old Asian Teen Beaten”

Hello JACLers,

The staff here at PSW came across a very disturbing and graphic video of an Asian teen being beaten by 7 other teenagers in the Chicago area. As we finish celebrating the triumphs of civil rights advancements by Martin Luther King Jr., we are also reminded of all the work that still needs to be done. This horrible occurrence was in Chicago, but In the words of MLK, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Please be warned that the video is very graphic.

Video on angryasianman’s website:

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2011 New Camp Musubi Counselors Selected

By Tony Osumi

Camp Musubi is proud to announce the selection of six camp counselors for summer 2011.  Camp Musubi is a weeklong day camp that uses fun activities to teach young people about Japanese American heritage. This year’s camp will take place during August 15 to August 19 in Little Tokyo.  

2010 counselors include: Jason Hata, Zane Miyamoto, Kevin Mori, Renee Nakagawa, Courtney Sakamoto, Sara Seto.  Along with serving as mentors and role models for the campers, the  college-age counselors will receive a $500 educational stipend.  They will also facilitate the camp program, assisting in preparing and organizing the daily activities.  “I love working with kids and getting involved in the community.  I want to help inspire the next generation of community-minded youth!” says incoming counselor Renee Nakagawa. 

Camp Musubi is open to any middle school-aged student entering 6th, 7th, or 8th grade, who wants to have fun learning about Nikkei heritage. The goal of the camp is to spark interest in the Japanese American culture and community through hands-on experiences and interactions with people in the community.

Along with a combination of cultural and history experiences, games, and field trips.  Karate, calligraphy, cooking, and performing arts workshops are scheduled as well as a trip to a Japanese American farm.  Guest speakers will include community artists and leaders as well as walking tours of Little Tokyo to meet residents, professionals and learn about the area’s rich history.

Parent Marlene Abe describes her child’s camp experience, “My son and my niece had a wonderful cultural experience at Camp Musubi.  The counselors connected well with the children and the activities were fun and well planned.”

Enroll today at  Space is limited and pre-registration is required. The deadline to apply is August 1.  Contact Tony Osumi at or Marissa Kitazawa at 213-626-4471

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

Youth Summer Opportunities! Get involved!

The Japanese American Citizens League, Pacific Southwest District has many opportunities for youth of all ages to get involved! There is something to do for everyone to do this summer! If you are a middle school student, check out CAMP MUSUBI, a fun week long summer camp where you can learn about the Japanese American culture and community! High schoolers join us this year at PROJECT: COMMUNITY! to engage in interactive workshops that focus on developing leadership skills, identity, the importance of Little Tokyo, grassroots organizing, and the importance of preservation in the Little Tokyo community. College students we’ve got a couple of PAID internship opportunities! Check out the descriptions below and visit our website for more information!

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