President’s Message, May 2010

The National Executive Board (NEB) of the NAJC met in Toronto on March 27-28, for its regular quarterly meeting. We wish to thank the individual members as well as the Toronto NAJC chapter for their presentations at our meeting.  It is through these exchanges that we learn more about the activities in the Japanese Canadian communities across Canada. It is our hope that through the website, we will enable more regular communication amongst the membership and create greater awareness of our mutual interests and concerns. We were also most appreciative of the Toronto JCCC for touring us around their beautiful facility.  Thanks to all.

On April 8, 2010,  I attended at the office of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that had a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the head office in Winnipeg. Many people ( Residential School survivors, Aboriginal leaders, Church officials, politicians, etc.) attended this most important event that celebrates the official beginnings of the truth and reconciliation hearings. The first hearing will take place in Winnipeg on June 15-19, 2010. According to one of the staff, the hearings will begin each day with a drumming-performed by the four races of the world. The NAJC is committed to supporting the TRC in its mandate to increase greater understanding between the Aboriginal peoples and the peoples of Canada through the story-telling of the survivors of the Residential School system.

Recently, I attended at a performance of the Shen Yun Performing Arts Group. Their mission is to “reclaim and renew the divinely-inspired cultural heritage of humanity”. Many of the performers and organizers of this group are part of the Falon Gong religion, whose followers in China have been subject to persecution and oppression. Their performances reflect the suffering and injustices that many of their faith have endured. They are a courageous group, who through their performances, are trying to educate others about people who suffer because of their religious beliefs.  A book, written by David Kilgour and David Matas, “Bloody Harvest – The Killing of Falon Gong for their Organs”, documents the treatment of the followers of Falon Gong in China. David Matas is a well known human rights lawyer in Winnipeg. David Kilgour is a former MP and an author of other publications.

The NAJC Endowment Fund Committee will be meeting in Winnipeg in June, to review the many applications that have been submitted by groups, individuals and organizations. It is always a great opportunity for the Committee to reflect and to embrace the many talents and creativity that exist in our communities.

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