NAJC President’s Message – June 2021

by Lorene Oikawa

June brings the summer solstice, the day with the most daylight hours, and we also see some light with the continuing vaccinations and the drop in daily COVID-19 infections. We have come so far, and we need to maintain our vigilance to prevent another wave of infections. Please continue to follow public health orders and keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

The National Executive Board welcomes Naomi Katsumi who is the successful candidate in the recent election that took place for the vacant secretary position. Naomi is a long-time volunteer in the Ottawa area for the Japanese Canadian community, Ottawa Japanese Community Association, women’s hockey league, and the organizer of the Ottawa Asian Hockey Classic. She is also a volunteer with the NAJC, most recently on the membership committee. Her volunteer efforts have been recognized with awards including the Governor General’s Sovereign Medal for Volunteers. We look forward to working with Naomi as a member of our volunteer board.

Last month it was announced that former NEB board member Eiko Eby was appointed the Project Manager for the Japanese Canadian Survivors Health and Wellness Fund which was announced last month. Read more in the article posted at najc.ca Eiko will bring her wealth of experience as she works directly for Nikkei Seniors Health Care and Housing Society and will be doing outreach to Japanese Canadian communities across Canada.

Some of the work of the NAJC is reflected in upcoming events.

On June 10-11 join experts, leaders, and community organizers across different sectors for the National Forum on Anti-Asian Racism. It is a two-day virtual event organized by the University of British Columbia. I have joined the steering committee and am excited that the NAJC is able to provide input into creating spaces for candid conversations about how to address the ongoing crisis of anti-Asian racism in Canada. For more information and to register.

For more information about the agreement reached by the NAJC and the Anglican Church of Canada to provide healing support to Japanese Canadians affected by the actions of Mr. G. G. Nakayama, a former Anglican priest from 1934 to 1994, who sexually abused Japanese Canadian boys please join a meeting on June 26, 2021. The Japanese Canadian Working Group will be introducing the Anglican Healing Fund. 

Pre-register.

Also, a reminder, we have two deadlines coming up soon.

The deadline for the NAJC Endowment Fund grant application is June 30, 2021. The NAJC Endowment Fund grants are available to organizations, groups and individuals to help develop Japanese Canadian culture, and support the athletic, artistic, and academic talents of Japanese Canadians. Information about the fund, application forms, Frequently Asked Questions, and the recording of the information session are posted on the NAJC website http://najc.ca/funds-and-awards/najc-endowment-fund

Nomination deadline for the NAJC Dr. Gordon Hirabayashi Human Rights Award is June 30, 2021. Dr. Hirabayashi is widely respected for his courage and leadership in Canada and the USA. In 1942, when he was a college student, he deliberately violated the curfew imposed upon Japanese Americans and officially challenged the government order on the grounds that it violated his constitutional rights. For more information about the award visit http://najc.ca/funds-and-awards/dr-gordon-hirabayashi-human-rights-award 

Last month, Asian Heritage Month, provided the opportunity to highlight some stories and voices of Canadians of Asian ancestry. However, learning about the history of our country, our province and our city should not be limited to a designated month or day. The more we can learn about the contributions and history of Asian Canadians, the more we can break stereotypes, stop discrimination and build a thriving, caring society. For events that you missed, check out our archived recordings and interviews in the Past section of Online Programs on our website and also on the National Association Japanese Canadians YouTube channel. https://bit.ly/3bTpbA1 Also, regularly check for updates at http://najc.ca/online-programs as we add new online sessions.

Sign up at http://najc.ca/subscribe for NAJC e-news and don’t miss any updates and information about our initiatives, events, opportunities, and news.

The NEB wishes you a happy, safe June. Enjoy the increased daylight hours!   

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