President’s Message, December 2009

The holiday season is upon us and provides an opportunity for all of us to reflect upon the many  gifts that we cherish now and every day of the year. At the Honouring our People conference in Vancouver in October, I am reminded of the gifts that the storytellers shared with the participants, of their experiences during the war years, of their resiliency, their strengths and their desires to build a better life for their children. We have gained as a community from the gifts of past generations.

The NAJC is most fortunate to continue the legacy of the Redress Settlement, through various programs and activities. One such program is the Endowment Fund, which has been granting funds to individuals, groups and organizations, twice a year, for worthy projects and activities. The Endowment Fund Committee (EFC) has just completed the fall allocation and was most impressed by the outstanding quality of the applications.

The EFC feels it is important for the community to know the talent and creativity of many of these applicants and how these projects have benefitted the Japanese Canadian community. Look for future articles by the recipients of the Endowment Fund.

In October/09, the Coal Creek Historic Park Advisory Committee, Village of Cumberland, completed a project that received funding from the NAJC Endowment Fund, as well as the generous donations of former residents and their families. Thirty-one Sakura trees were planted on a former town site, where 31 Japanese Canadian families resided in #1 Mine Japanese Town, prior to the forced relocation of these families to internment camps. The recognition and commemoration of these former communities is part of our history, which is critical to preserve. At the AGM in October/09, a Heritage Task Force was created as one of its objectives, to encourage Japanese Canadian communities to preserve and to share their heritage and history.

The NAJC invites the membership to consider a project under the “Community Pilot Project Program”.  To be eligible for the Community Pilot Project Program funding the program/initiative must concern Japanese Canadian culture and identity, history and education, family values or the promotion of human rights and social justice issues. Deadline for submissions is February 1, 2010. For more information, contact the NAJC office.

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

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