President’s Message, March 2009

February is Black History Month, a time to celebrate and acknowledge the achievements of many African-Canadians who have contributed to the life and times of this great country. As we welcome the first official visit of President Barack Obama, to Canada, we are reminded of his comments related to Black History Month. It is “a chance to examine the evolution of our country and how African-Americans helped us ever closer to becoming a more perfect union.”

Recently, in Manitoba, we celebrated “Louis Riel Day”. Louis Riel was hanged as a traitor following the Battle of Batoche, for leading a rebellion to protect the rights of the Metis peoples. Today he is touted as a hero. History teaches us many lessons, lest we forget. The NAJC is committed to addressing issues related to the history of Japanese Canadians and will be developing a Heritage Committee to deal with these important matters.

Congratulations to Dr. Jim Tanaka and the Japanese Heritage Enthusiast Group, for their efforts in successfully securing the relocation of the Steveston Japanese Fishermen’s Hospital Complex to the Steveston Museum.

The NAJC Human Rights Committee is currently planning a meeting of the committee who represent membership organizations across Canada.  There is no end to issues that are important to the Human Rights Committee. However, due to our limited resources we need to prioritize our activities in this area. Recently, a questionnaire was circulated to the membership, related to a workshop that is being planned for later this year, “Honouring our Past”. The Greater Vancouver JCCA  Human Rights Committee and the NAJC Human Rights Committee are hosting this event. This workshop will focus on the stories related to the Internment of Japanese Canadians and how these stories relate to family and community history. Please take time to respond to the questionnaires and return them to the sender. The questionnaire can be found on page 14.

The NAJC is undergoing some changes at the head office. The most pressing matter relates to a longstanding dispute that the NAJC has had with the owners of the space that we rent. We anticipate a resolution to this matter very shortly.

Spring is almost here! A few weeks ago, Winnipeg experienced an unusual phenomenon—rain in the middle of winter!! We have paid the price for that, with icy streets and sidewalks!! It’s always sunny anyway in the winter!

The NAJC welcomes comments, suggestions, questions, etc.

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