We must develop and support active and informed decision makers who can work to understand the complexity of our communities and country. JAMO is a valuable resource providing a rich history of Japanese Americans in Oregon.
I am on this board to honor and preserve my grandparents’ legacy. I interviewed my grandparents for school projects over the years, yet there are so many additional questions I wished I had asked them. There is always more to learn, and this museum not only educates but urgently encourages us to be allies for all. Together, we work for a better future.
I’m a Board member of JAMO because I believe that people of all colors should learn the complete story of the Japanese American experience and understand why it is so relevant today.
My grandparents immigrated to the US in the ’20s and settled in California and Washington. My family endured the cruelties and inequalities during WWII and were incarcerated in Topaz and Heart Mountain. Growing up JA our family did not talk about life in the camps. Over time, my parents would shed light on their experiences and the fear and uncertainty that each citizen faced during those times. The first time I stepped into the Legacy Center was very powerful. It was the first time I had visited a museum dedicated to the Japanese American experience and introduced me to a community devoted to preserving all citizens’ civil rights. It is a special museum with many shared voices that inspired me to volunteer and join the Board.
I am honored by the privilege to serve on the JAMO board as it allows me a way to work to fulfill my parents’ (who were founding committee members) vision of celebrating and telling the story of our Japanese American community.
Recognizing and sharing the experiences and culture of the Japanese American community enriches and strengthens the greater community. It is when we learn from each other that we can be a city upon a hill, a beacon of inspiration and hope.
It is an honor for me to serve on the JAMO board and to be given this opportunity to do my part in JAMO’s mission of educating all Americans about the Japanese American experience, in advocating for the civil rights of all Americans, and to help build and grow this vital cultural institution in Oregon. I feel in a way it is carrying on a family legacy of connection and service to the Japanese American community that began with my grandfather ,Tom Okawara, a founding member of the JACL over a hundred years ago in Fresno, California. I look forward to working with an amazing and fun staff and fellow board members in advancing the vision put forth by JAMO.
Nidoto nai yoni (Let it not happen again).
My mother’s youngest brother joined the Army to become 442nd 100 Infantry. He died in Italy fighting for America.
I joined the board because of Lynn. Everything she said influenced me to say yes, and here I am to help her with whatever I can do!