President’s Message, December 2008

It has been a very busy fall for the NAJC, with the National Conference celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Redress Settlement on September 19-21/08, in Vancouver, as well as the many regional celebrations across Canada. The organizers of the Vancouver event, Grace Thomson, Cindy Mochizuki and Ron Nishimura, did a tremendous job of giving us an “opportunity to reflect and learn more of the issues that affect us today” (Art Miki). The participation of many individuals, groups and organizations outside our community who shared their stories, their histories and their desires to achieve resolution of the injustices that they have experienced, sounded so familiar to the issues that were fought during the Redress movement. Many of the youth that attended added their voice to making a difference and being a part of change. Many came to increase their awareness of Redress and their Japanese heritage.

On October 25-26/08, the NAJC held its Annual General Meeting in Winnipeg, Manitoba, at the Manitoba Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre. Delegates representing the member organizations across Canada from the West Coast to Ontario were welcomed by the host organization, Manitoba Japanese Canadian Citizens Association. The hospitality of “Friendly Manitoba” was most appreciated. The election of the new Board of the NAJC occurred on Sunday October 26/08. The new Board of the NAJC consists of:
Terumi Kuwada (Winnipeg) President; Masa Kagami (Vancouver) Vice President; Angela Foremen (Thunder Bay), Secretary; Takashi Ohki (Edmonton) Director; Steve Seller (Thunder Bay) Director; Pam Sugiman (Toronto) Director. Unfortunately the position of “Treasurer” is not yet filled. The NAJC welcomes any volunteer within our member organizations to submit their name for this important position. In the interim, the past Treasurer, Angela Foreman will be acting in this position.

The Board of the NAJC will have its first meeting in January/09, to identify priorities and to develop a strategic plan. The membership forms the foundation of the NAJC. It is critical that we hear and listen to what the needs of the member organizations/individual members, are. At the AGM, we had the opportunity to brainstorm some of the challenges that the membership face. For example, the involvement of young people, sustainability of organizations, needs of newcomers, etc. are on-going concerns that warrant serious and thoughtful planning. We want to hear from you. If you have any suggestions, comments about how we can communicate more effectively, please contact us.

On behalf of the Board of the NAJC, I extend warm holiday wishes to all of you, for peace and joy, now and always.

Terumi Kuwada

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