President’s Message, November 2010

by Terumi Kawada

On October 16/17, 2010, the NAJC held its Annual General Meeting in Ottawa, hosted by the Ottawa Japanese Community Association, at the Embassy of Japan. Delegates from member organizations, individual members, alternates, observers, volunteers of the OJCA, all gathered together for this important event to address the business of the NAJC. In the process, old friends renewed their friendships, tasty foods were consumed, entertainment was enjoyed and lively discussions took place about the future of the NAJC. A new Executive Board was elected/acclaimed. Congratulations and many good wishes to the following individuals who will serve the community for the next two years: President: Ken Noma (Toronto), Vice President: Lillian Maguire (Whitehorse), Treasurer: Takashi Ohki (Edmonton), Secretary: Angela Foremen ( Thunder Bay), Director: Steve Seller ( Thunder Bay), Director: Pamela Sugiman ( Toronto), Past President: Terumi Kuwada (Winnipeg).

It was an honour and privilege to recognize Ann Sunahara at the reception on Saturday night, who was this year’s National Award recipient. Ann’s work was a major contributing factor in the success of the Redress campaign. Her book, ” The Politics of Racism” was written, using Government documents that showed how officials abused the human and civil rights of Japanese Canadians. Ann’s numerous publications and articles including a submission to the Government regarding changes to the Emergencies Act , ultimately resulted in changes that ensured that injustices of the past would not be repeated. More recently Ann together with Grace Thomson and Roy Miki wrote a position paper on behalf of the NAJC, ” Taking Responsibility: A Submission to the Canadian Government on the Misrepresentation of Japanese Canadians and Their History.” Grace, Ann, Lillian Maguire and Terumi Kuwada met with Government officials regarding the issues raised in this position paper–specifically, the Canadian War Museum and the Discover Canada Study Guide. This is most encouraging for the NAJC. A resolution was passed at the AGM, regarding the formation of a Heritage Committee. One of the responsibilities of this Committee will be to monitor representation of Japanese Canadian history in Canadian society, a very important task for the NAJC.

As I have completed my term as President of the NAJC, I would like to thank my fellow Board members, as well as the membership of the NAJC, for contributing to a rewarding term for me. Many individuals, groups and organizations volunteer countless hours of dedicated service to the NAJC–thanks to all of you. The NAJC has a strong and proud legacy. With continued dedication and commitment from all of us, this will continue.

Finally, I would like to thank Yumi Schoenhofer, President of the Ottawa Japanese Community Association and her volunteers for their gracious hospitality to all of the attendees at the recent AGM. A special expression of appreciation is extended to Ambassador Kaoru Ishikawa for allowing us to use the Embassy of Japan for our meeting and reception.

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