President’s Message, July 2011

On June 14th, all NAJC chapters were sent communication from the NAJC Membership Committee Chair, David Iwaasa, requesting that they forward to the National office copies of their 2010 and 2011 annual general meeting (AGM) minutes in compliance with the NAJC Membership Bylaws,  All chapters must be incorporated or registered either provincially or federally and are bound by specific annual reporting guidelines set out by respective governments.  The collection of AGM minutes allows us, as a national organization, to ensure that chapter members are being given the opportunity to meet annually with their local executive to:  receive reports of past activities; review financial statements; solicit volunteers; approve new programmes; raise concerns and issues unique to their locale.  More importantly, an annual general meeting renews the mandate of the local executive thus giving it the legitimate authority to speak on behalf of the chapter membership for the coming year.  We cannot be an organization that advocates for human rights and justice, if we do not practice good governance ourselves.  August 31st is the deadline for the filing of the requested minutes and I will report back to you on this matter in the fall.  If you have any concerns as a local member, please do not hesitate to contact your chapter executive, myself or David Iwaasa at:
70th Anniversary of Internment (1942-2012)

Next year will mark the 70th anniversary of our community’s internment.  The imprisonment and the post-war government policy of dispersal had a devastating effect on our small community. The anniversary will be an occasion to continue to highlight the past but also to celebrate our survival and growth in spite of the challenges.  I encourage the local chapters and other Nikkei associations to mark this event through reflection but to look forward and note the accomplishments and hopes of the younger generation.  We must also begin to document the post-war period by including the stories of the Sansei who are now in their 60’s and 70’s.  Digital Story Telling is one convenient and effective tool for such documentation.

The NAJC must find ways to engage the younger generation if we are to ensure the survival of our local chapters and cultural institutions.  We must use the vehicle of social media and other main-stream, youth oriented, cultural platforms to our advantage.  The tremendous response and involvement of Nikkei and Japanese youth in the highly successful Japan Relief campaigns across Canada is a good case in point and demands that we re-examine our current paradigm and take a different approach on how we deliver our vision as a political and human rights advocacy organization.  We must create more engaging programmes that is relevant to today’s Nikkei youth and tap into their potential.  In the coming weeks, I hope to have discussions with the National Executive Board on this topic and hope to report back to you with concrete proposals.

Spring Endowment Fund
The Endowment Fund Committee’s choice of recipients for the Spring 2011 Fund has been accepted by the NEB and the National office in Winnipeg will be informing all applicants of the decision shortly.  I am pleased to note that all of the applications will receive some funding support.  If you are considering applying for the Fall 2011 Fund (deadline is September 31st), I invite you to visit our website:  I would encourage potential applicants to consider the upcoming anniversary and incorporate some element within their overall project design; although this is not a requirement, perhaps it will give you some food for thought.

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