Weekly Digest
January 7, 2020
JACL wishes everyone a Happy New Year!
JACL Concerned by Reports of Increased Screening Procedures for Iranian American Citizens at the U.S./Canadian Border
January 6, 2020

For Immediate Release

David Inoue, Executive Director
dinoue@jacl.org , 202-223-1240

Sarah Baker, VP Public Affairs

Washington, DC -  This past weekend, reports of increased screening of Iranian Americans returning to the United States from Canada arose late Saturday night and early Sunday morning. Although individuals were not officially detained or taken into custody according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP), it is clear that many U.S. citizens of Iranian descent were subjected to additional screening that non-Iranian citizens were not. 

JACL denounces this expansion of screening and further questioning based solely on Iranian heritage. Our country should have learned its lesson when it targeted Japanese Americans because of our ancestry. We must not repeat the mistake of casting suspicion on American citizens simply because of their family’s country of origin. Racist discrimination should not be institutionalized under the guise of national security interests.

CBP seems to be seeking cover by claiming to have not detained or ordered for the detention of any individual, but has made no comment in regards to the extended questioning and screening procedures. We call upon CBP to immediately halt any discriminatory policies singling out travelers solely for their Iranian heritage. If CBP did not issue orders for additional screening, it must conduct an immediate investigation as to why additional screenings were required for Iranian Americans crossing the border.
For coverage of this issue by the LA Times including mention of JACL's statement, click HERE .
Call for Day of Remembrance Events
JACL is looking to compile a list of all of the Day of Remembrance Events coming up around the country for members and their communities to be able to search for events near them. If you have any DOR events in your city or know of any, please email our Policy Fellow, Matthew Weisbly, at mweisbly@jacl.org with details for the event! We'll start posting a list of dates, times, and locations starting in next weeks digest!
Memorial Service for Greg Marutani
This past week, a memorial service was held in San Francisco in honor of Greg Marutani.
The program was chaired by Greg's friend and KTVU-Channel 2 reporter/anchor Jana Katsuyama. Speakers included:
  • Shawn Kaku and Kim Korupp - Greg's nephew and niece
  • Steve Okamoto - San Francisco Japanese American community leader
  • Sharon Ishii-Jordan - JACL Education Committee member
  • Seiko Fujimoto - Executive Director of the Japanese Benevolent Society of California
  • Judy Hamaguchi - San Francisco JACL Board Member
  • Lamar Marutani - Greg's younger brother

As well as a letter from San Francisco city Mayor, London Breed, who said "Thanks to Greg's commitment to creating educational opportunities for San Franciscans, many of our city's residents have had the chance to learn vital knowledge about the civil rights history of Japanese Americans."

The service was followed by a reception where people gathered to share memories of Greg's life, years of service, and friendship.
December 2019 Kakehashi Project Recap
For years I had always heard about the Kakehashi Project and how much it was a chance for students and young Japanese Americans to explore their roots back in Japan. I planned for years to apply and take part in the trip as a participant, I never expected I'd be going as a supervisor, let along as a staff member of JACL or helping to plan the trip! But it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Not only getting to explore Japan for the first time, but also to see how excited all of the participants, many of them my own age, were to be along for the trip. We explored the bustling city of Tokyo, the old and modern feelings of Nagoya, the rural countryside of Fukui, and the rebuilt and thriving city of Fukushima.

As a 5th generation Japanese American, my family left Japan over 120 years ago, and since then we've lost our language abilities and many of our customs. But going back and talking to so many people, and seeing how much our customs in some ways have not changed at all was amazing. Our hosts and colleagues in Japan were just as surprised by us as we were of them, sharing stories, our cultures, and comparing out similar we still are despite coming from thousands of miles and hundreds of years away.

It truly is a trip that influences many of us for the rest of our lives. For all my the participants in my group, and throughout the program, thank you all for applying and joining us on this program. Thank you to my fellow supervisors who helped to lead this trip, and thank you to all of the JICE coordinators and staff who made it all possible. I can't wait for all of the February 2020 participants to experience the same amazing adventures we did!

-Matthew Weisbly, JACL Daniel K. Inouye Fellow

If you're interested in joining a future Kakehashi Project trip, please stay up to date with JACL through social media at JACL National. Our 2020-2021 trips will be announced in late Summer 2020.
2019 Annual Campaign
It's not too late to support JACL
Your investments in JACL impact history in two meaningful ways. First, we share our history. Our education guides on the JA Experience, legacy grants, youth summits, and the Pacific Citizen are one-of-a-kind programs to share our story. 

Second, we change the course of history. From immigration laws, to Redress, to the Congressional Gold Medal, we have changed history again and again.

I rejoined as JACL staff because sharing our history is more urgent now than ever. I believe that through JACL’s work, we will change history again...

In 10 years, we will celebrate JACL’s 100th anniversary. At that time, I’m confident that justice will be served to immigrant communities and that the next generation will be empowered with our programs.

Investing in JACL’s work today will create our shared vision of freedom, education, and justice for tomorrow. Join me to keep making history with a 90th anniversary gift to JACL!


Phillip Ozaki
Membership Coordinator
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In Case You Missed It...
National JACL Announces 2020 Scholarship Program
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) is kicking off its National Scholarship and Awards Program for the 2020 academic year. The JACL annually offers approximately 30 college scholarships for students who are incoming college freshmen, undergraduates and graduates, and those specializing in law and the creative/performing arts. There are also student aid scholarships for those in need of financial assistance in this era of rising tuition costs. 

Scholarship Program guidelines, instructions and applications can be found on the JACL website, www.jacl.org , by clicking “Youth” on the menu bar.

Freshman applications must be submitted directly by the applicant to his/her local JACL chapter, with a postmark no later than March 2, 2020. Freshman applicants may obtain the mailing address of his/her chapter by contacting Membership Assistant Tomiko Ismail at tismail@jacl.org or by calling the Membership Department at (415) 921-5225, extension 26. 

Chapters will then have one month to evaluate their freshman applications and forward only the most outstanding ones to the National JACL Freshman Scholarship Committee, c/o Seattle JACL, P.O. Box 18558, Seattle, WA 98118, no later than April 1, 2020.

Applications for the “other” scholarship categories (undergraduate, graduate, law, creative/performing arts, and student aid) are to be sent directly by the applicant to the National JACL Scholarship Committee, c/o JACL Midwest District Council, 10604 Killarney Drive, Union, Kentucky 41091, with a postmark no later than April 1, 2020. 

All those applying to the National JACL Scholarship Program must be a youth/student or individual member of the JACL; a couple/family membership does not meet this requirement. Applicants must be enrolled in school in Fall 2020 in order to be eligible for a scholarship.

For more information on the National JACL Scholarship Program, contact Regional Director Patty Wada at pwada@jacl.org or National JACL Vice President for Planning & Development Matthew Farrells at mfarrells@jacl.org.
San Jose's 40th Anniversary Day of Remembrance
San Jose’s 40th Anniversary Day of Remembrance Event
No Camps, No Cages
40 Years of Fighting for Justice

On Sunday, February 16th, 2020, the Nihonmachi Outreach Committee (NOC) will present San Jose’s  40th  Anniversary Day of Remembrance event commemorating Executive Order 9066, which led to the World War II era incarceration of more than 120,000 people of Japanese descent, two-thirds of whom were American citizens. 

This year's theme is  No Camps, No Cages . As in World War II, incarceration without due process, separation of families, and children in camps are all happening now and this year’s Day of Remembrance is more timely than ever.

Nihonmachi Outreach Committee is proud to announce that Former Congressman from San Jose and retired Secretary of Transportation, the Honorable Norman Mineta will be the keynote speaker. Amy Iwasaki Mass will talk about her own personal experience of wartime incarceration. In 1981, she testified at the hearings held by the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC). Representatives from the South Bay Islamic Association, San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin, and Wesley United Methodist Church will express their support.

There will be a candlelight procession through historic San Jose Japantown and a special performance of  Swingposium,  a production about big band music and dance as a source of hope for Japanese Americans incarcerated in WWII Concentration Camps, by San Jose Taiko with Wesley Jazz Ensemble. The program will start at 5:00 pm, one-half hour earlier than in prior years, to accommodate the performance of  Swingposium . Seating is limited. The event is open to the public and family friendly, with an activity room for children. It is a free event but donations are welcome. 

Sunday, February 16th, 2020
5:00pm to 7:30pm 

San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin Annex
640 North 5th Street
San Jose, CA 95112

Contact information:

Courtesy of Judy Mine, Chair, Nihonmachi Outreach Committee
The 2020 Census is Coming Soon!
Tsuru for Solidarity's
"National Pilgrimage to Close the Camps"
Advocacy Opportunity: Join the JACL in Supporting the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act!
More than one million immigrants arrive at U.S. borders every year, many escaping violent or threatening situations in their home countries. 

Under Trump, immigrants arrive to U.S. detention centers that are just as damaging as the violence-prone countries many are fleeing. One investigator even found conditions at the nation’s largest Customs and Border Protection detention center “could be compared to torture facilities.”

U.S. Congress members, Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) have sponsored a bill called the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act, proposing changes to how the U.S. treats immigrants and ensuring transparent and responsible conduct around immigrants awaiting a court decision.

This legislation would implement a shift from detention to alternative housing arrangements for immigrants awaiting court decisions. Community-based supervision programs allow immigrants to live independently, and outside of detention centers.

This legislation will also address transparency in how the U.S. runs its detention centers, calling for regular inspections at detention facilities to ensure that the facility workers are respecting all rights of immigrants. 

Migrant families lawfully seeking asylum cannot continue to be abused! Congress must enact legislation to prevent further detainment in for-profit concentration camps. Join the JACL along with other sponsors, Daily Kos, Franciscan Action Network, Blue Future, and more by signing the petition!
Advocacy Opportunity:
Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act
Check if your member of Congress has co-sponsored the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act of 2019. ( List of cosponsors here )

If they have not, call their office TODAY and ask them to do so. Mention that you are their constituent.

Not sure who your member of Congress is? Find them here .

This bill would bring oversight and enforcement of standards to immigrant detention, in an attempt to curb the horrific, inhumane conditions found inside many of these facilities. It would also compel investigations of deaths in custody and phase out private detention, so that all facilities are regulated and no companies stand to profit from locking up families seeking asylum. Find the text here .
Advocacy Opportunity:
Reuniting Families Act
Check if your member of Congress has co-sponsored the Reuniting Families Act. ( List of cosponsors here )

If they have not, call their office TODAY and ask them to do so. Mention that you are their constituent.

The bill promotes family unity by clearing backlogs for family-based immigration and providing for the more timely reunification of spouses and children, as well as providing protection for LGBTQ families. It eliminates per-country visa limits and recaptures lost visas. Find the text here.
Advocacy Opportunity: Petition of Japanese Americans to Close the Camps!
JACL has joined as a supporting organization for this petition.

Click HERE for the latest issue of Nikkei-mashou, the newsletter of the National Youth/Student Council.

The mission of the National Youth/Student Council is to build a national network that engages the next generation through community organizing to create positive change for the API community.

Apply to be a census worker
The U.S. Census Bureau is hiring temporary workers for the 2020 census count, including census takers and office staff. It is important to have representatives from all communities working as census workers to work towards a full and accurate count.

Click here to find the application and pay rates in your local area.