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Speakers at this Years Convention

Abby Dizona-Maughan

Workshop: Fighting White Supremacy

Abby earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Utah, her Master’s in Business Management from the University of Phoenix and her Juris Doctor from the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, where she graduated with honors. While in law school, Abby served in an executive capacity for several student organizations, including the OUTlaws, the College of Law’s LGBT-Ally group, and was a founding member of the Utah Student Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (USACDL).

Amy Watanabe

Workshop: Multigenerational Trauma Discussion on the Japanese American Incarceration

Amy Watanabe specializes in community engagement, communications strategy and partnership building at Nakatomi & Associates, a Los Angeles based communications firm, that uses the power of communications and different forms of media to inspire positive change and social impact for its mission-driven clients. She is also the Associate Producer for the Mineta Legacy Project, a documentary and educational curriculum profiling the life and career of Secretary Norman Y. Mineta.

Angela Sutton 

Workshop: NPS Parks and Partners: Successes, Best Practices, and Opportunities

Angela Sutton is an interpretive park ranger at Tule Lake National Monument and Lava Beds National Monument. Angela started her National Park Service career as a youth conservation corps member back in 2001 at Lava Beds. She worked seasonally as a park ranger at Lava Beds through the summer of 2007. In 2007 she became a permanent ranger at Lava Beds and has also been working at the Tule Lake National Monument site since it was established in December 2008.  She is the primary interpretive ranger at Tule Lake, where she provides year-round tours and education programs to groups of all ages. She has also created some of the first interpretive media displays for the site and has been a part of the Tule Lake General Management Plan team from start to finish.

Antonella Packard

Workshops Uplift & Listen: An Open Dialogue

with Local Community

Antonella Packard has served in Senior Management capacities for various international companies, among them Fortune 500 corporations. Her professional background covers a number of industries, from Banking, Construction, Manufacturing, Medical Devices, and Healthcare. She presently owns a medical device and building materials company. Ms. Packard has a B.S. in Business and holds a Masters of Business Administration. In 2008, Ms. Packard was named as one of Utah’s 20 Most Influential Hispanics by Business Connect Magazine. She served as the Executive Director for the Utah County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. In this capacity, Ms. Packard promoted workforce diversity initiatives with mainstream business and supplier diversity certifications among Latinx, multicultural, and women-owned businesses, in addition

Bernadette Johnson 

Workshop: NPS Parks and Partners: Successes, Best Practices, and Opportunities

Bernadette Johnson began her federal career by joining the National Park Service in 1990 and has served as the Superintendent for Manzanar National Historic Site since June 2014. She worked as a concession management specialist from 1994 through 2002 at Grand Canyon and Glacier National Parks as well as the Lake Havasu Field Office for the Bureau of Land Management. In 2003, she returned to the Bureau of Land Management in Lake Havasu City as Lead Concession Specialist, where she lead the program for the Colorado River District and advised the Washington Office on concession related issues. In 2007, Bernadette became the Associate District Manager for the Colorado River District. In 2009, she moved to Bishop, CA to become the Bishop Field Office Manager. In 2013, she moved to Carson City and became the Carson City District Manager until she returned to the Owens Valley and to the National Park Service to become the Superintendent for Manzanar. She has a life-long interest in social justice issues and believes that it is vital to teaching about the importance of equality for all people. Bernadette has been a Rotarian since January 2010 and is a past president of Rotary Club of Bishop Sunrise. As a Rotarian, Bernadette has participated in several humanitarian efforts domestically and abroad.

Carole Hayashino

Plenary: The Early Redress Years: 1977 - 1984

Carole Hayashino is President Emerita of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i (JCCH). Carole helped to bring national attention to Hawai‘i’s World War II internment camps which led to the preservation of Hawai‘i’s largest incarceration camp, Honouliuli, as a national monument and historic site. During her tenure at the JCCH, she produced two documentaries, The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese in Hawai‘i and Voices Behind Barbed Wire: Stories of Hawai‘i. 

Christine Chen 

Plenary: The State of Asian America 

Census Workshop Training 

Christine Chen, APIAVote’s founding executive director from 2006 to 2008, returned to APIAVote in January 2011 to serve as its current Executive Director. During her tenure, she strengthened and expanded APIAVote's partners into 26 states. APIAVote’s research and polling of Asian American voters and their regional training and field programs have strengthened local grassroots programs in reaching and mobilizing Asian American and Pacific Islander voters. Through all these efforts, APIAVote has played a key role in elevating the Asian American and Pacific Islander electorate to an unprecedented national level in recent years.

Dakota Russell

Workshop: NPS Parks and Partners: Successes, Best Practices, and Opportunities

Dakota Russell is Executive Director of the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation. Prior to moving to Wyoming, Russell spent many years with Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites, helping to preserve and interpret frontier log houses, Native American village sites, Civil War battlefields, and more. Russell believes that history benefits from a plurality of voices, and has worked to ensure that marginalized stories and diverse viewpoints are better represented in the cultural landscape.

David Inoue

Workshop: Careers in Advocacy & Community Service

Mr. David Inoue was appointed Executive Director of the Japanese American Citizens League in July 2017. He previously served for ten years as the administrative director for a medical shelter for homeless men in Washington, DC. Mr. Inoue worked for several years in health care policy with the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, and with the federal government at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. He completed a dual bachelor of arts degree in chemistry and Asian studies at Cornell University, and obtained master's degrees in public health and health administration from The Ohio State University. 

Darrell Kunitomi

Workshop: Multigenerational Trauma Discussion on the Japanese American Incarceration

Darrell Kunitomi has worked for the Los Angeles Times for 37 years in the Communications Department, giving speaking engagements on behalf of the newspaper and giving tours around the newspaper's offices to individuals and groups. Over that time, he has become the company's historian. He has also written articles on the outdoors for The Times. Darrell is a member of the Grateful Crane Theater Ensemble, an organization that creates performances around Japanese and Japanese American stories. Kunitomi's parents were incarcerated at Heart Mountain. His older brother Dale was born at the Heart Mountain Hospital.

David Ono

Sayonara Banquet Emcee

David Ono is the anchor for ABC7 Eyewitness News at 4 pm and 6 pm, the top-rated newscasts in all of Los Angeles. He also anchors Eyewitness News on KDOC-TV at 7 pm.
David joined ABC7 in 1996 and during that time has witnessed history worldwide, covering Hurricane Katrina, Haiti's earthquake and Japan's tsunami. He traveled across Europe and Asia chronicling brave acts of the Nisei soldier from World War II. 
Ono has attended two Royal Weddings, Prince William’s in London in 2011 and Prince Harry’s in Windsor in 2018. He’s tracked drug runners through Central America and reported live from Boston after the tragic marathon bombing. He’s covered terrorism from Paris not only in 2015 as the historic city was crippled with fear but also in 2002 after a plot was foiled to bring down the Eiffel Tower. Ono has trained with the FBI, the elite Los Angeles Sheriff’s SWAT team, ICE and the Los Angeles Port Police. Three times President Obama has invited him to the White House.  Twice for exclusive one on one interviews, and once to make a speech about inclusion in America. David has extensively covered the Pope. He witnessed white smoke at the Vatican twice - in 2005 for the selection of Pope Benedict the 16th and 2013 for the selection of Pope Francis. He also covered Francis’s historic visit to the United States in 2015 and his visit to Mexico in 2016. 

David has produced multiple award-winning documentaries, two of which have made their way to the Smithsonian Institution. 

David has won 6 Edward R. Murrow awards, 23 Emmys, 2 RTDNA National Unity Awards, 6 AAJA National Journalism Awards, and was honored with the Distinguished Journalist Award by the Society of Professional Journalists. 

Devon Matsumoto

Workshop: Uplift & Listen: An Open Dialogue with

Local Community

Devon Matsumoto is the outgoing co-president of the Salt Lake City JACL. He moved to Salt Lake for undergraduate studies in Social Work at the University of Utah and will be moving to Seattle to pursue a masters degree in Social work this August. He is active in the Japanese Buddhist community as the current president of the College Young Buddhist Association and chair of the Dharma and Nembutsu Always (DANA) Retreat. He is working to bring the intersection of Asian American and Buddhist into the spotlight of the larger Buddhist community to acknowledge the spiritual and cultural role Buddhism has had in the Asian American community. More recently Devon has been working to bring youth programming to the 2019 JACL National Convention. With the help and guidance of Kayla Watanabe and Kenzie Hirai, the three of them have been working extremely hard to make this convention inclusive for youth attendees. 

Fahina Tavake-Pasi

Workshop: Uplift & Listen: An Open Dialogue with

Local Community

Bio to come

Floyd Mori 

Workshop: From Redress to Today: Creating Momentum for the Future of the Japanese American Confinement Sites Consortium

S. Floyd Mori is an American of Japanese heritage. He has been an Educator, Politician, Author, Entrepreneur, International Business Consultant, and President/CEO of Nonprofit Organizations. Mori was born in Murray, Utah, to immigrant parents from Japan. He is the seventh of eight children. He grew up on a farm and graduated from Jordan High School in the Salt Lake Valley. Active in sports, he became a high school All-State Baseball Player. After graduation, he served for six months on active duty at Fort Ord, California, with the United States Army Reserves. He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army. He entered college at the University of Southern California (USC). He interrupted his college studies to serve a two-year mission to Hawaii for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon). He then attended Brigham Young University (BYU) from which he received a Bachelors Degree with a dual major in Economics and Asian Studies. He received a Masters Degree in Economics and Political Science from BYU. He has attended fellowship programs at Stanford University, UCLA, and UC Santa Barbara. 
In 1972 Mori was elected as a City Councilman of the City of Pleasanton, California, and later served as Mayor of Pleasanton. He was elected to the California State Assembly in March 1975 and served for six years in that capacity as one of the first two Assembly members of Japanese descent. He served as the Director of the Office of International Trade for the State of California. He was a consultant in government relations and served as the Utah Trade Representative to Japan. He was on the Utah Governor’s Asian American Advisory Board and the Small Business Administration Advisory Committee in Utah. He has served on various other local, regional, and state boards and commissions. 

Mori has held local chapter and national positions for the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), including four years as National President and four years as a National Vice President. He joined the National JACL staff in 2005 and was Director of Public Policy in Washington, D.C, following which he became the National Executive Director/CEO of the JACL. He retired from that position in 2012 and received the title of Executive Director Emeritus. 

He served as the President/CEO of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) for six years, retiring from that position in May 2018. Among his accomplishments, while serving the JACL in various capacities were chairing two National JACL Conventions and organizing a National JACL Golf Tournament as well as local JACL golf tournaments. He worked on securing corporate partners for the JACL and enhanced the Fellowship program. He started a JACL Gala in Washington, D.C. He is on the Board of Governors for the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) and the Board of the Independent Voters Project. He is a member of the Board of the National Veterans Network and of APIA Vote. 

Floyd Shimomura

Plenary: The Early Redress Years: 1977 - 1984

Floyd Shimomura served as National President of the Japanese American Citizens League when the historic Japanese American Redress legislation was first introduced in Congress in 1983. He was the first Sansei National President. An attorney, he wrote JACL’s legal arguments and testified before the Federal Redress Commission in 1981 and Congress in 1984. He met with Prime Minister Nakasone and the Reagan White House to advocate for Redress.

Frank Sato 

Plenary: The Early Redress Years: 1977 - 1984

Frank Sato was a principal with Deloitte & Touche (D&T) an international Big 6 CPA firm from 1988-1994. He joined D&T after 34 years of service in three, major US Departments. He was appointed by Pres Reagan to serve as Inspector General (IG) for the Dept of Veterans Affairs (VA), 1981-1988, after confirmation by the Senate. He was appointed by Pres Carter to serve as IG for the Dept of Transportation (DOT), 1979-1981, after Senate confirmation. He served as the Deputy Asst Secretary of Defense (Audit), & Director Defense Audit Service in the Ofc of the Secty of Def 1974-1979. His govt career started with the USAF Auditor General 1955, following military service 1953-1955, as Capt, USAF. 

Hanako Wakatsuki

Workshop: NPS Parks and Partners: Successes, Best Practices, and Opportunities

Hanako Wakatsuki is the Chief of Interpretation and Education at the Minidoka National Historic Site. She has approximately 12 years of experience in the museum and public history field. In the past she has worked for the Idaho State Historical Society, Tule Lake Unit of WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument, and at the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum. She also served a detail with the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders as the Regional Advisor for the Regional Network managing programs in Southwest, Southern California, and Hawai`i.
Hanako received her B.A. in History and B.S. in Political Science from Boise State University, her M.A. in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University, and is a Ph.D. candidate at Boise State University in Public Policy and Administration program. She is passionate about visitor services, making cultural institutions accessible to the community, and bridging the gap between academia and the public.

Haruka Roudebush

Haruka Roudebush is a shin-issei (1st generation post-war) JACLer based in San Francisco, where he works as the Programs Manager at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California in San Francisco Japantown. Prior to changing careers to pursue community work full time, he worked in prisoner rights advocacy and monitored confinement conditions in California state prisons for prisoners with disabilities and mental health issues, as well as monitored due process compliance in parole revocation proceedings for California state parolees. He is active primarily on Facebook and has experience managing and generating social media content for several JACL and Japanese American community organizations.

Workshop: Social Media for Chapters

Irene Ota

Workshop: Anti-Discrimination Response Training

Standing against bigotry and discrimination, Irene Ota’s passion and work centers around raising awareness of privilege and oppression. But it was her life experiences that lead her to her passion.

Ota was born in Japan, seven years after the Second World War. Her family moved to the United States when she was nine months old. “I was born in a United States Army hospital, so I was a citizen from the day I was born. There was no kind of complications with me coming, but I’m sure there was for my mother as a Japanese citizen,” said Ota. At the time, the United States did not take in many Japanese people, which allowed Ota to see firsthand the injustices and discrimination that people of color and marginalized people face.

Ota’s earliest memories dealing with bigotry and discrimination came from her primary school days. After being enrolled at a predominantly white school, the first thing she heard was a student saying, “Hey, we got some chinks at our school.” It was then that Ota started to feel different from the people around her. Ota knew that the word “chink” was a derogatory term for Chinese people, and although she isn’t Chinese, Ota still knew that this term was aimed at her.

“In order to assimilate, you have to want to, but you have to be allowed to. I was never allowed to assimilate. I was always the ‘Asian kid’ or the ‘chink’ or the ‘Japanese kid’,” said Ota. These experiences of not being considered American because she isn’t white has always followed Ota and her family.

I was never allowed to assimilate. I was always the ‘Asian kid’ or the ‘chink’ or the ‘Japanese kid.’

Ota has two bi-racial African and Japanese American daughters, and they have and continue to experience the daily taunts and harassments due to their skin color. Ota recalls her oldest daughter calling her one time on the verge of tears stressing that every day something happens to her, to her husband, or to her kids. Ota’s daughter emphasized how tired she was and asked Ota what she should do.

“I had no answer. I have no answer. Except to build this double consciousness in my daughter and her kids. I sit down with them and give them the ‘talk’ that you have to give children of color,” said Ota.

After finishing her studies, Ota began teaching social justice classes at the University of Utah since 2000. To Ota, building her students’ critical consciousness on the structures of privilege and oppression is her way of rooting for change. When Ota first started teaching about social justice work she recalls that the phrase “white privilege” itself was a foreign concept and there was so much resistance against it from her students. Today, students are now familiar with the concept and are open to research around white privilege. Ota firmly believes that once the door is opened on these complex topics, students are more apt to learn about the intersections of other kinds of socially constructed identities.
Ota is an associate instructor in the College of Social Work, who teaches Social Justice Advocacy and Social Diversity & Culturally Understand. She plans to teach for as long as she can, and will continue to host workshops around social justice issues.

We need to work collaboratively to dismantle the structure of privilege and oppression.

“This work is personal to me in so many ways, but it’s also because of the education I received. I know it is systemic, I know that it’s wrong. We need to work collaboratively to dismantle the structure of privilege and oppression. And the first way to dismantle is to be aware of it and validate it.”

Jeanetta Williams 

Workshop: Fighting White Supremacy

Bio to come

Jason Groth

Workshop: Fighting White Supremacy

Jason Groth is an attorney and the Smart Justice Coordinator at the ACLU of Utah. The focus of his work is fighting mass incarceration and racism in the criminal justice system. Prior to joining the ACLU, Jason worked as a Public Defender in Colorado where he represented juvenile and adult clients in misdemeanor and felony cases.

John Tateishi

Plenary: The Early Redress Years: 1977 - 1984

As the newly appointed chair of the JACL’s National Committee for Redress, John Tateishi launched the JACL’s redress campaign in 1978 from the Salt Lake City convention and initially directed a public affairs campaign to educate the American public about the WWII Incarceration. A central strategy of that effort was the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, which gave voice to Japanese Americans for the first time and broke a 35 year silence. The commission’s report was a clear indictment of the government’s wartime treatment of Japanese Americans, and its recommendation served as the basis of the JACL’s legislative drive for redress. As the commission began its hearings, Tateishi resigned his teaching tenure to serve fulltime as the JACL’s National Redress Director and became the JACL’s principal redress lobbyist in D.C. He served in that position until 1986, two years before the campaign ultimately culminated with the signing of the Civil Liberties Act. Ten years later, as the JACL’s National Director, he brought the JACL onto the national stage after 9/11 as an important national voice challenging the Bush administration’s policies that targeted Arab and Muslim communities and undermined the civil liberties of all Americans.

Josh Kaizuka 

Workshop: JACL Chapters in Motion: Addressing Family Separation at the Border and Muslim Ban: From Resolution to Action

Co-President of Florin JACL-Sacramento Valley. Josh is a past president of the Asian/Pacific Bar Association of Sacramento (ABAS) and current board member of the ABAS Law Foundation. He serves on the Civil Rights Committee for Florin, the Issues and Advocacy Committee for ABAS, and on the Legislative Committee for California Attorneys for Criminal Justice. Josh has participated in numerous rallies, press conferences, radio talk shows, commented to news media, helps organize educational events, speaking engagements at local universities and law schools on subjects including the Muslim ban, immigration ban, and the parallels to the past. He has also helped hundreds of individuals arrested for protesting and organizes pro bono attorneys to successfully defend mass arrest cases in Sacramento.

Justin Kawaguchi

Plenary: “Where are the Youth?” : Investing in Youth Leadership and Membership

Justin Kawaguchi is a rising junior at the University of Southern California majoring in Global Health with minors in Consumer Behavior and Public Relations. Born in Pasadena, California and raised in Thousand Oaks, he maintained engagement with the Japanese American community primarily through involvement with Sangha Teens/Jr. YBA at Senshin Buddhist Temple throughout middle and high school. In high school, he founded the Japanese Culture Club and acted as president for three years, expanding membership year-over-year and pushing for new spaces for diversity and inclusion on campus. In college, he has continued involvement with the API community through capacities such as Directorship in the USC Asian Pacific American Student Assembly, Nikkei Student Union (NSU), and volunteering at the Japanese American National Museum. Recently, he has increased involvement with the Japanese American Citizens League after attending the Kakehashi program in December 2018. This past March he joined the PSW District Youth Board and is currently working to find ways to engage youth members and create a stronger Japanese community in Southern California.

Kara Miyagashima

Workshop: NPS Parks and Partners: Successes, Best Practices, and Opportunities

Kara works for the National Park Service, Intermountain Region as the Program Manager for the Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) Grant Program. Working with the NPS Midwest and Pacific West Regions and Washington (WASO), Kara oversees the administration of this national grant program, which provides funding to non-profit organizations, educational institutions, state, local and tribal governments and other public entities to preserve and interpret the confinement sites where Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II. She also works with the Intermountain Region’s Heritage Partnerships Program to provide technical assistance to stewards of World War II Japanese American Confinement Sites, which include: Amache (CO), Gila River (AZ), Heart Mountain (WY), Poston (AZ), and Topaz (UT), among others.

Dr. Karen Cone-Unemura

Workshop: Multigenerational Trauma Discussion on the Japanese American Incarceration

Dr. Karen Cone-Uemura is a California native who has been living in Salt Lake City, UT, for almost 24 years. Her father was born in Pu’unene, on the island of Maui. His great-grandparents emigrated from Japan to Hawaii, and his side of the family migrated back and forth between Japan and Hawaii. They made a fateful trip from Hawaii to visit a sick relative in Japan just prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, where they ended up living for a number of years. Karen’s mother was born in Atherton, CA. Her mother had brothers who served in the army while the rest of the family was interned at Amache. These events continue to influence Karen’s interest in identity, diversity, inclusivity and social justice, topics that drive her scholarly endeavors and clinical practice. She is the mother of two mixed-race children and currently works as a psychologist at the University of Utah.

Karen Ishizuka

Workshop: Memory Activism and Mass Imprisonment: The Preservation of our Legacies

Karen Ishizuka is Chief Curator of the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) and was previously on staff at the museum as media producer, curator, and director of the Frank H. Watase Media Arts Center. During that time, she curated JANM’s influential America’s Concentration Camps: Remembering the Japanese American Experience exhibition, established the museum’s Photographic and Moving Image Archive, and wrote and produced Toyo Miyatake: Infinite Shades of Gray. Ishizuka received a master’s degree in social work from San Diego State University and her Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles. In addition to many articles, she is the author of Serve the People: Making Asian America in the Long Sixties and Lost & Found: Reclaiming the Japanese American Incarceration and co-editor of Mining the Home Movie: Excavations into Histories and Memories Together with her husband and partner Robert A. Nakamura, Ishizuka received the inaugural JANM Legacy Award at the museum’s 2016 Gala Dinner for their lasting contributions to the museum’s institutional legacy and helping distinguish the museum as a unique, vital, and valuable community resource.

Kathy Masaoka

Workshop: From Redress to Today: Creating Momentum for the Future of the Japanese American Confinement Sites Consortium

NCRR Co-Chairperson Kathy Nishimoto Masaoka was born and raised in multicultural Boyle Heights. The Vietnam War and Asian American Studies at UC Berkeley became important influences on her values and direction as she came of age during the late ’60s. Since 1971, she has worked on youth, workers, housing in Little Tokyo, and redress issues. Currently, Co-chair of the Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress (NCRR), she works with Sustainable Little Tokyo, Nikkei Progressives, and Vigilant Love Coalition to build solidarity and support for Muslims, immigrants and others impacted by discrimination. She is a retired school teacher who is married to Mark Masaoka, and they are grandparents to Yuma and Leo Amaru.

Kurt Ikeda

Workshops: Memory Activism and Mass Imprisonment: The Preservation of our Legacies & The Orange Story – Peeling Back Nikkei Identity

Kurt Ikeda is an educator by profession and poet by passion. Hawaii-born and raised in the South Bay of Los Angeles, Kurt (UCLA ’13, Loyola Marymount ’15) is the new Education Manager for the Oregon Nikkei Endowment in Portland, OR. He has served the JACL as the former Co-President of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter and former Board Secretary for the PSW District. His poetry and advocacy are rooted in the WWII incarceration story of his grandfather, informed by his internship at the Minidoka National Historic Site, and inspired by his work with high schoolers as an English teacher.

Larry Whalon

Workshop: NPS Parks and Partners: Successes, Best Practices, and Opportunities

Larry Whalon is currently the Superintendent at two National Park Service monument sites in Northern California, Tule Lake, and Lava Beds. He started his Federal Career in 1987 as a seasonal botanist for the Bureau of Land Management, his National Park Service (NPS) career started in 1991 in Northwest Arctic in Alaska as a natural resource specialist. He served as a division chief at various parks until 2006 when he was selected as the deputy superintendent of Mojave National Preserve. He served as deputy for nine years before being selected as the Superintendent of Lava Beds and Tule Lake National Monuments in October of 2015. Larry helped complete the Tule Lake General Management Plan in 2018 and he has been very active in getting Tule Lake open to public visitation.

Larry Oda

Plenary: The JACS Consortium: A Model for Japanese American Community Advocacy

Larry is the current Chairman of the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation Board of Directors. He was born in a Justice Department Internment Camp in Crystal City Texas during World War II. He was raised in Monterey, California and attended college in Fresno, California. Although he was educated to be a teacher, his occupational path deviated from his education. The training he received in teaching the industrial arts and technologies also enhanced his skills to be proficient in the restoration of exotic cars, so he followed the experiences that possibility offered, for a while. Eventually, his career path took another detour as he was hired to be the vehicle and equipment manager for the City of Salinas, California. His responsibilities grew to include the remaining four major maintenance activities; Facilities, Streets, Wastewater, and Parks. He retired from the City as the Public Works Maintenance Superintendent.
While his vocation gave him a level of productive satisfaction, In his free time, he volunteered for numerous charitable endeavors in an effort to give back to the community. He spent the last 39 years volunteering with the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Golf Tournament and twenty years with the First Night Monterey New Year’s Eve celebration. He has served on the Buddhist Churches of America National Board, Japanese American Citizens League National Board as National President, and as a Trustee of the Big Sur Land Trust. 

Linda Harms Ozaki

Workshop: Finding Your Japanese Roots in the U.S.

Part 1 & Part 2

Linda Harms Okazaki is a fourth-generation Californian, active in the genealogy and Japanese American communities in California and beyond. She is passionate about teaching people to research, document, and share their personal family histories. Her areas of research include upstate New York, England, Australia, Japan, Japanese Americans during WWII, and the use of DNA in genealogy. Linda has been researching her husband’s ancestry since 2012, documenting his family in the internment camps and in Japan. A charter member of the Nikkei Genealogical Society, she has worked as a contract researcher with ProGenealogists, and is a featured columnist for the Nichi Bei Weekly. Her column, Finding Your Nikkei Roots, is published bimonthly. She is a member of JACL, the Japanese American National Museum, and the National Japanese American Historical Society, as well as the Association of Professional Genealogists, the Genealogical Speakers Guild, and the Daughters of the American Revolution. Linda currently serves at the past president of the California Genealogical Society and is a board member of the Nichi Bei Foundation. She and her husband own the genealogy research service, Linda’s Orchard.

Ms. Okazaki holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and a Master of Arts degree in Education. 

Lisa Doi 

Workshop: The Orange Story – Peeling Back Nikkei Identity

Lisa Doi is the President of JACL Chicago. Lisa has participated in and led JACL Chicago's Kansha Project, a youth leadership and identity development program for college-aged Japanese Americans from the Midwest centered on incarceration history. Lisa also studied resettlement and dispersal patterns of Nikkei in Chicago for her M.A. research at the University of Chicago. She is embarking on a new project later this summer in collaboration with the Arab American Action Network to bring young Japanese Americans and Arab Americans to Rohwer and Jerome. 

Dr. Lisa Nakamura

Workshop: Multigenerational Trauma Discussion on the Japanese American Incarceration

Dr. Lisa Nakamura is a clinical psychologist who has a long history of providing therapy and therapeutic collaborative assessments for children, youth, and young adults, particularly in addressing complex trauma in foster care children. She completed a dissertation on the effects of the Tule Lake pilgrimage on Japanese American former inmates and their descendants. Dr. Nakamura has provided workshops and consultations on the impact of incarceration within the Japanese American community. Prior to that, she was an active volunteer in the Japanese American community. As a member of the Tule Lake Committee, she helped organize pilgrimages and facilitated intergenerational group discussions. She supported the commemoration of Day of Remembrance events through her participation in the Nihonmachi Outreach Committee in San Jose. Shortly after September 11th, she was involved with a Nikkei activist group called, Nosei, that held solidarity events in the San Francisco Bay Area with the Arab, Muslim, and South Asian communities who were targeted for hate crimes. She currently has a private practice offering therapy.

Luz Escamilla

Workshop: Fighting White Supremacy

Luz Escamilla has nearly twenty years of leadership experience in the private and nonprofit sectors as well as the executive and legislative branches of state government. Luz considers herself extraordinarily fortunate to have had these opportunities as part of the American Dream. Moving from Mexico to the United States in 1996, she finished high school in San Diego before moving to Utah to attend the University of Utah. 


For the past 12 years, Luz’s work with Zions Bank has focused on developing small and local businesses that empower underserved communities. 


In 2008, Luz was elected to her first of three terms to the Utah State Senate, which represents the west side of Salt Lake City and part of West Valley City. Luz has worked tirelessly to pass meaningful legislation around issues of clean air, healthcare, public education, after school programs, and many other issues that improve the lives of working families and residents of Salt Lake City. 


Luz has been an effective Democrat in the GOP-controlled legislature because of her ability to find effective solutions, find common ground, and build bridges among those with different interests. She is currently running for Salt Lake City Mayor. 

Marsha Aizumi 

Workshop: Intersecting Identities: Nikkei LGBTQ Stories

Marsha Aizumi is an author, speaker, columnist for the Pacific Citizen and advocates for the LGBTQ community. She is the proud mother of a transgender son, Aiden Takeo. 
Marsha is the co-founder and co-president of PFLAG San Gabriel Valley Asian Pacific Islanders (SGV API) chapter and also serves on the PFLAG National Board of Directors. PFLAG is an organization that provides parents, family and allies support, education and advocacy for their lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) children, family or friends. She also co-founded Okaeri: A Nikkei LGBTQ Gathering that is a biennial conference. Marsha was appointed to Vice President Joe Biden’s Foundation for LGBTQ Acceptance in 2017. 
She has written a book, Two Spirits, One Heart, with her son, Aiden and they have spoken throughout the United States to over 200 organizations, corporations, universities, and colleges. Marsha has also spoken in China and Japan. 
Marsha has also received numerous awards: JACL National’s Japanese American of the Biennium, Seattle’s JACL Special Civil Rights Achievement and Congresswoman Judy Chu’s Community Activist of the Year. 
She has been married to her husband, Tad, for 47 years and is also the proud mother of Stefen Aizumi and Mary Aizumi. 

Mary Ya

Workshop: Uplift & Listen: An Open Dialogue with Local Community

Bio to come

Matthew Farrells 

Workshop: Fundraising/Development for Chapters

Mr. Farrells is currently serving his second term as Vice President Planning & Development on the JACL national board. In his role, he oversees the Legacy Fund Grant program, National Scholarship program and the fundraising activities of the organization. Prior to serving as VP Planning & Development, he has served as Secretary/Treasurer for two consecutive terms and National Youth/Student Council Chair, both also on the JACL National Board. Professionally, Mr. Farrells works for a global wealth and asset management firm based in Minneapolis. 

Mia Russell

Plenary: The JACS Consortium: A Model for Japanese American Community Advocacy

Workshops: NPS Parks and Partners: Successes, Best Practices, and Opportunities & From Redress to Today: Creating Momentum for the Future of the Japanese American Confinement Sites Consortium

Mia Russell is Executive Director of Friends of Minidoka, the nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving Minidoka, and serves on the administrative council of the Japanese American Confinement Sites Consortium and on the board for Boise Valley JACL. Russell earned her master’s degree in Applied Historical Research from Boise State University, where she developed Minidoka NHS, the walking tour mobile app for Minidoka National Historic Site. She is a shin-nisei quapa originally from Visalia, CA.

Mieko Kuramoto

Plenary: “Where are the Youth?” : Investing in Youth Leadership and Membership

Mieko Kuramoto is the National Youth Representative to the National Youth/Student Council. She has been involved with the JACL since graduating from high school and has previously participated in a number of JACL programs, including the Kakehashi Project in 2017 and the JACL/OCA Youth Leadership Summit in 2018. As a student at Smith College, she was one of the founding members of the Asian American activism organization Pan Asians in Action. Being part of both the JACL and the campus Asian American community has shaped her own identity and field of interest, and she just recently returned from a semester spent in Argentina studying the Japanese Argentinian community. Hailing originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Mieko understands the challenges to recruiting youth members in areas with few Asian Americans and is eager to continue working with the JACL to widen and diversify their youth recruitment.

Michael Kwan

Workshop: Uplift & Listen: An Open Dialogue with Local Community

Michael Kwan was appointed to the judiciary in 1998. A graduate of Whittier College School of Law, he received the Quality of Justice Award from the Utah Judicial Council in 2001. His Domestic Violence Program was awarded the Peace on Earth Award from the Salt Lake Area Domestic Violence Advisory Council in 2002. He started one of the first DUI/Drug Courts in the nation in 1998 for which he received the 2008 Utah Governor's Award. Judge Kwan has taught courses across the country. A past Chair of the Board of Justice Court Judges and former member of the Utah Judicial Council, he is served for 12 years on the Utah Substance Abuse Advisory Council; as Chair of the ABA Judicial Education Committee; and, a member of the National APA Judicial Council. He previously served as Chair of the Asian Association of Utah from 1998-2002. He founded the Multi-cultural Legal Center, the Utah chapter of OCA, the Utah chapter of APAPA, and the Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants Association (CRWDA). He led CRWDA in its celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad. He is Co-chair of the Executive Committee of the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs (APAPA), a community education foundation. He has fought for the empowerment of the AAPI for over thirty years.

Monica Thammarath

Workshops: Careers in Advocacy & Community Service

Monica Thammarath is a Southeast Asian American organizer, advocate, and community builder. She is currently senior liaison in the Community Advocacy & Partnership Engagement Department at the National Education Association (NEA). At NEA, Ms. Thammarath works to connect NEA’s 3 million members and affiliates to student, parent, and community organizing opportunities focused on racial and social justice, particularly as it impacts the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. Ms. Thammarath also serves as NEA’s appointee to the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) National Executive Board and was elected to become APALA’s National President in August 2017, making her the youngest and first Laotian American to serve in this role.

Nancy Ukai

Workshops: JACL Chapters in Motion: Addressing Family Separation at the Border and Muslim Ban: From Resolution to Action & Memory Activism and Mass Imprisonment: The Preservation of our Legacies

Project director of the "50 Objects" history website that explores the human impact of the Japanese American incarceration through a curated collection of 50 objects ( The project was awarded a National Park Service JACS grant. Nancy helped lead the social media protest against the Rago auction of camp artifacts in 2015. The auction was canceled, and the Eaton collection was acquired by the Japanese American National Museum. She is now conducting research on the provenance of the objects. Nancy lived in Japan for 14 years, working as a Fulbright English Fellow and journalist.

Secretary Norman Y. Mineta

Plenary: The JACS Consortium: A Model for Japanese American Community Advocacy

Awards Luncheon 

Workshop: What Does It Mean To Be An American? Mineta Legacy Project

Norman Y. Mineta is a man of many firsts: the first Asian American mayor of a major city; the first Japanese American from the mainland to be elected to Congress; and the first Asian American to serve in a presidential cabinet. But beyond these groundbreaking achievements, he personifies the American dream and aspirations. Norm is the son of immigrants forcibly removed from his home with his family to spend years in an internment camp during World War II. And yet he has remained a patriot, leading with integrity, achieving a long and storied career as a public servant, and continually championing the underserved and mentoring young leaders.

Mineta's career in public service has been both distinguished and unique. For almost 30 years, Mineta represented San Jose, California—first as a city council member, then as vice mayor, mayor, and eventually 11-term Member of Congress. Mineta was appointed as Secretary of Commerce by President Bill Clinton and later appointed as Secretary of Transportation by President George W. Bush. 

Mineta was also a vice president of Lockheed Martin, where he oversaw the first successful implementation of the EZ-Pass system in New York State. Today, Mineta is the President and CEO of Mineta and Associates, LLC. He is married to Danealia (Deni) Mineta and has two sons, David K. Mineta and Stuart S. Mineta, and two stepsons, Robert M. Brantner, and Mark D. Brantner.

Paul Uyehara 

Plenary: Tule Lake 

Paul M. Uyehara is a Sansei attorney from Philadelphia who was born into the JACL.His late parents Grayce and Hiroshi were born in Stockton and Los Angeles, respectively, and came via Rohwer to Philadelphia where they were founding members of the Philadelphia Chapter. Paul has been actively involved for the past 25 years, having served as Philadelphia chapter president and board member, PC Editorial Board member, EDC Governor, JACL/OCA Leadership Conference participant, and multiple terms as chair of the Constitution and Bylaws, Resolutions, and Legacy Fund Grants Committees. In 2016, he first visited Japan by serving as a chaperone in the Kakehashi program. His day job since 2008 has been in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., but for most of his career, he represented low-income clients with civil disputes in several legal services programs in Philadelphia.

Prentiss Uchida

Workshop: Multigenerational Trauma Discussion on the Japanese American Incarceration

Prentiss Susumu Uchida was a 1-year-old when he and his family were sent to the Walerga Assembly Center as a result of Executive Order 9066. Months later, in 1942, the family was sent to the Tule Lake Relocation Center, and in September1943, the family was transferred to the Heart Mountain Relocation Center. After the war, the family returned to Cupertino, California. Prentiss grew up on the farm and then the family moved to town in San Jose. He received a BA in Mathematics from San Jose State University and upon completing college, worked for the Lockheed Missile and Space Company. During the next 40 years, as a serial entrepreneur, Prentiss held positions in both private and public companies; including founder and CEO of Vector General (a pioneer company in interactive computer graphics), CEO of the Inner Game (a training and development company founded by Tim Gallwey), and CEO of Secom General (a NASDAQ mini-conglomerate of automotive component manufacturers). Additionally, he was a founder and director of Instar Infomatiqué (a French medical software company), and a founder and director of Kahootz (an enterprise software company). At Vector General he was the architect of the graphics workstation that generated real-time, dynamic three-dimensional images used in the original Star Wars movie. Vector General CAD applications were used by Boeing, Lockheed, Chunichi Shimbun, Nijmegen University, Brown University, among others. He has served on the Advisory Board of the Stanford University / Western Electronic Management Association Executive Institute, and on the Los Angeles Board of Directors of the United Way. Prentiss is currently a volunteer mentor and teacher for SCORE, sponsored by the SBA. He lives in Moorpark, California, has 3 grown children and 4 grandchildren.

Rita Pin Ahrens

Plenary: The State of Asian America

Rita’s passion for social justice stems from her lived experience as a Khmer refugee resettled in Idaho, her involvement with the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Ban Landmines as a student at Yale University, and her observations on the differences that living in certain zip codes can make for children and families as a middle school math teacher in both urban and suburban public schools. 
Throughout her career, Rita has advocated for fair and just policies that improve the social and economic well-being of underserved communities. Prior to joining OCA, Rita oversaw research and policy projects for APIA Scholars, the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, the Campaign for High School Equity, and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. She led the #AllStudentsCount campaign for the inclusion of AAPI data disaggregation in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, served as a negotiator on federal regulations on assessments throughout the country’s public schools, and convened AANAPISI stakeholders to envision and co-create a collective impact model for advocacy, research, and public awareness.
Rita’s other passions include performing classical Khmer dance, oil painting and drawing in charcoals, urban edible landscaping, reading, writing poetry, and binging on Netflix.

Ronald K. Ikejiri

Plenary: The Early Redress Years: 1977 - 1984

Ronald K. Ikejiri served as the JACL Washington Representative from 1978 to 1984 during the redress campaign. Currently, he serves as the Governmental Affairs Counsel in Los Angeles. Prior to that, he served as the Former City Council Member City of Gardena 2001 to 2014, and Past Chair and Member of the County of Los Angeles Citizens Economy and Efficiency Commission 2002 to Present.

Ron Wakabayashi

Plenary: The Early Redress Years: 1977 - 1984

Ron Wakabayashi has served as the Western Regional Director for the Community Relations Service [CRS] of the US Department of Justice for the since 1999, covering the Pacific Territories and the states of Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada. In 2018, he was assigned supervision over the additional states of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. CRS was established in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to provide conflict resolution and conciliation services in situations of community conflict that are based on race, color and national origin. Additional identity communities, named in the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Act, came under CRS jurisdiction in 1995. CRS provides conciliation, mediation, training, and technical assistance services.
Earlier service as the Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations and for the Los Angeles City Commission on Human Relations was preceded by service as the National Director of the Japanese American Citizens League during the period of the organization’s Redress Campaign.
His early history in community organization places him in the Asian American movement in the late 1960s and 1970s. Involvement with the formation of the Gidra newspaper, Asian American Social
Workers, and an Issei hot meals program served as a part of his community organizing development. He is associated with the development of multiple organizations including the Asian American Drug Abuse Program, Asian Rehabilitation Services, the Asian Pacific Planning Council, the JACS Asian Involvement Office, Korean Youth Center, and several others.

Rylan Sekiguchi

Workshop: What Does It Mean To Be An American? Mineta Legacy Project

Rylan Sekiguchi is Manager of Curriculum and Instructional Design at the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE), Stanford University, where he develops teaching materials for K–12 and community college classrooms. His publications include a dozen curriculum units, two documentary films, and several online resources, and his writings have appeared in publications of the National Council for History Education and the Association for Asian Studies. The Association for Asian Studies has twice recognized him with the Buchanan Prize—an award given annually to an outstanding curriculum publication on Asia for any grade level.

Sam Mihara

Workshop: Memory Activism and Mass Imprisonment: The Preservation of our Legacies

Sam Mihara is a former prisoner at the Heart Mountain Wyoming WWII camp, Sam graduated from U.C. Berkeley undergraduate and UCLA graduate school with a major in engineering and became a rocket scientist/executive with the Boeing Company. Following retirement, Sam is now a national speaker and author on Mass Imprisonment. He published a book, “Blindsided”, about his life in the camp. He is a frequent visiting lecturer at several U.C. campuses, Harvard and many other schools and colleges in the country. He received the Paul A. Gagnon National Prize as history educator of the year 2018, a first for a Japanese American. Sam is a member of JACL / SELANOCO and JACSC. He spoke at Congress last February in support of funding for all the camps. And Sam is a board member of the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation. 

Sarah Baker

Workshop: Intersecting Identities: Nikkei LGBTQ Stories

Sarah Baker serves as the President of the Seattle Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League and sits on the National Board as the Vice President of Public Affairs. She presently works for Wayfind, an organization that provides free legal services to nonprofits and small businesses within the state of Washington. 
She is passionate about exploring intersectionality as a queer, mixed-race person, and loves to lead identity workshops. Sarah was the founder and chairperson of an API LGBTQ conference called Family: An API LGBTQ Gathering which was hosted both in 2015 and 2017 in Seattle, Washington. 
A Seattle-born shin-sansei, Baker enjoys working out, sensory deprivation tanks, and expression through different forms of movement such as dance, hula hooping, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. 

Sarah Baker serves as the President of the Seattle Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League and sits on the National Board as the Vice President of Public Affairs. She presently works for Wayfind, an organization that provides free legal services to nonprofits and small businesses within the state of Washington. 
She is passionate about exploring intersectionality as a queer, mixed-race person, and loves to lead identity workshops. Sarah was the founder and chairperson of an API LGBTQ conference called Family: An API LGBTQ Gathering which was hosted both in 2015 and 2017 in Seattle, Washington. 
A Seattle-born shin-sansei, Baker enjoys working out, sensory deprivation tanks, and expression through different forms of movement such as dance, hula hooping, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. 

Dr. Satsuki Ina

Legacy Awards Luncheon

Dr. Satsuki Ina was born in the WWII Tule Lake Segregation Center, a maximum-security prison for dissident 
Japanese Americans. She is a psychotherapist in private practice specializing in collective trauma. Currently, she is a co-organizer
of "Tsuru for Solidarity" a grassroots direct action network of Japanese Americans and allies committed to peaceful protest against the repetition of the WWII incarceration and separation of families and children being perpetrated under the current US administration. She has produced two documentary films about the long-term impact of the Japanese American incarceration: Children of the Camps and From A Silk Cocoon.
She was among the first “Junior JACLers” recruited in high school in San Francisco for leadership training in the late 1950s. She is a long-time member of the Florin chapter of the JACL.

Scott Tanaka

Workshop: Planning Your Family Caregiving - Sponsored by AARP

Scott Tanaka is a project specialist for the Center to Champion Nursing in America (CCNA), an initiative of AARP Foundation, AARP, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He supports efforts to increase the diversity of stakeholders and coalition building for the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, a national initiative of those same organizations to transform health care through nursing and build healthier communities for everyone in America. He also supports the Campaign’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Steering Committee, state Action Coalitions, consultants, and advocacy efforts concerning the public’s access to health care. Before joining CCNA, Scott was with AARP’s Multicultural Leadership team and supported the Asian American Pacific Islander Audience Strategy. Scott obtained a master’s degree in social work from the University of Southern California and received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Biola University in La Mirada, Calif. Scott is also a board member for the JACL-DC Chapter.

Sean Miura

Legacy Awards Luncheon

Sean Miura is a Los Angeles–based writer, arts organizer, and digital media professional. He produces and curates Tuesday Night Cafe, the oldest Asian American public art series in the nation. He works with organizations like the New Generation Nikkei Fund and Nikkei Progressives. Sean keynoted the 2018 Densho Dinner in Seattle and has lectured, performed, and hosted at institutions and events such as the University of California - Riverside, Kollaboration LA, the Los Angeles Day of Remembrance, and the 2018 Tule Lake Pilgrimage. Among other publications, his writing has appeared in Reappropriate, Nerds of Color, and the Harvard Asian American Policy Review. In 2019 he was a subject of the NHK documentary "Manzanar Revealed." In 2015 he was recognized as an emerging leader by the Japanese American Citizens League-PSW District. Sean currently works at BuzzFeed where he co-founded the Asian American employee resource group, has led/consulted on Asian American content initiatives, and leads strategic planning for auto advertising partnerships.

Shawn Newell

Workshop: Fighting White Supremacy

Shawn is the Vice President of Business Development at Industrial Supply Company where he has worked for the past 35 years. He serves as a community integrator working as the vice president of the Salt Lake branch of the NAACP, as a Commissioner on the Governor’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Human Rights Commission, an Executive Board member for the Utah Black Roundtable and a member of the ME4U coalition. Mr. Newell is also the founder of the newly formed Utah Multicultural Civic Council. He currently serves as a board member for the Utah Manufacturer’s Association, the Workforce and Economic Development Advisory board at Salt Lake Community College, the Utah Non-Profit Association and as a member of the Utah State Board of Education. Shawn is the Alumni Council President for Salt Lake Community College and serves as a Trustee for SLCC. Mr. Newell is a Civility Ambassador for World Civility through iChange Nations. Additionally, he serves as a President’s Ambassador for the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce. Shawn is a graduate of the University of Utah, Salt lake Community College and has a Masters of Management from the University of Phoenix. 

Shirley Ann Higuchi

PLenary: The JACS Consortium: A Model for Japanese American Community Advocacy

Workshops: Multigenerational Trauma Discussion on the Japanese American Incarceration & From Redress to Today: Creating Momentum for the Future of the Japanese American Confinement Sites Consortium

Shirley Ann Higuchi, Esq., Chair of the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation (HMWF), is the daughter of former incarcerees, Dr. William I. Higuchi and the late Setsuko Saito Higuchi. Her American born parents were children when they were incarcerated at Heart Mountain during WWII. Shirley’s pursuit of law stemmed from her feelings of discomfort toward how the U.S. judicial system treated her parents. It was not until her mother was on her deathbed in 2005 that Shirley would inspire to take on her mother’s dream of “having something built there.” She was elected Chair of the Board in 2009 and her proudest moment was unveiling the Foundation’s world-class Interpretive Center in August 2011 alongside journalist Tom Brokaw, the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Secretary Norman Mineta, and Senator Alan K. Simpson.

In addition to her work with Heart Mountain, Shirley currently leads the legal advocacy office of the American Psychological Association. Active in the District of Columbia Bar, Shirley served two elected terms on the Board of Governors from 1994 to 2000, served as Chair of the Bar’s Nominations Committee in 2001, and was elected President of the Bar for 2003. In 2008, Shirley was appointed to the Judicial Tenure and Disabilities Commission for a 6-year term where she was responsible for reviewing misconduct, evaluating reappointments, and conducting fitness reviews of the District’s judges. In 2014, Shirley was appointed to the Federal Law Enforcement Nominating Commission by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC). Shirley’s forthcoming book, Setsuko’s Secret: The Story of an American Concentration Camp to be published by University of Wisconsin Press will be released in the spring of 2020. 

Stan Shikuma

Workshop: JACL Chapters in Motion: Addressing Family Separation at the Border and Muslim Ban: From Resolution to Action

As a social activist, writer and organizer, Stan initiated the first Asian American History course at Stanford University, opposed Draft Registration at UC Berkeley, pursued divestment from Apartheid South Africa at UW, and worked in the Redress Movement with Washington Coalition on Redress, NCRR and JACL. Currently, he organizes the Tule Lake Pilgrimage, serves on the National Education Committee of JACL, co-edits the monthly newsletter of the Nisei Veterans Committee & NVC Foundation, and continues as a member (retired) of the Washington State Nurses Association (WSNA). As a longtime taiko player, he also performs, writes, and lectures on the history, teaching, and performance of taiko in North America.

Stan Yogi

Workshop: Intersecting Identities: Nikkei LGBTQ Stories

Stan Yogi is a co-author of the award-winning books Wherever There’s a Fight: How Runaway Slaves, Suffragists, Immigrants Strikers and Poets Shaped Civil Liberties in California, and Fred Korematsu Speaks Up. He is co-editor of two books, Highway 99: A Literary Journey Through California’s Great Central Valley and Asian American Literature: An Annotated Bibliography. Stan co-chairs Okaeri, a biennial conference for LGBTQ Nikkei and their allies, which has been held in Los Angeles since 2014. He is a Senior Consultant with Klein & Roth Consulting, a firm that helps small social justice non-profit organizations with fundraising 

Stephanie Nitahara

Workshops: Careers in Advocacy & Community Service & Memory Activism and Mass Imprisonment: The Preservation of our Legacies

Grounded in her grandparents’ World War II incarceration experience, Stephanie Nitahara is passionate about creating a just society through education and activism. Born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, she attended the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where she became involved with the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) as part of their National Youth/Student Council (NY/SC). Through the NY/SC she discovered her love for Nikkei and Asian Pacific Islander youth organizing, leadership, and program development. That passion became her career, moving to Los Angeles in 2012 to work for JACL as the Pacific Southwest Regional Director, and later Interim Executive Director and Associate Director. Stephanie has found her community home in Little Tokyo and is excited to continue working in the vibrant, diverse, and evolving Nikkei community as the Executive Director of Kizuna.

Steve Okamoto

Workshop: Fundraising/Development for Chapters

Mr. Okamoto is a long time JACL member having joined in the 60’s as a Jr. JACLer. His occupation was in Finance specifically fundraising. He is a UC Grad and has lived in Foster City, CA, for the past 41 years. He was a City Council Member for four years and president of the San Mateo chapter on and off for 13 years.

Tamlyn Tomita

Sayonara Banquet Emcee

Tamlyn Tomita is currently playing "Allegra Aoki" on ABC's "The Good Doctor" and " Tamiko Watanabe" on Amazon's "The Man In the High Castle" and will be seen on another series yet to be announced this fall. She is known for her work in "The Karate Kid Part II”, "Come See the Paradise", "Picture Bride", "The Day After Tomorrow", "The Joy Luck Club", "Glee", "Teen Wolf", "Heroes", "Berlin Station", and "True Blood”. Her support and love for independent film and specifically Asian-American film can be seen in "Robot Stories", "Operation: Marriage", "Seppuku", "Real Artists", "The Ningyo" and "Awesome Asian Bad Guys", among others. A native Los Angeleno and proud AAPI embracing her Okinawa, Japanese, and Filipina heritages and what it means to be American, she continues to advocate for stories to be told from and with a "golden" perspective. And most importantly, she is a proud and loyal UCLA Bruin.

Dr. Thu Quach

Plenary: The State of Asian America

Thu Quach, PhD has been working in public health and health care for over two decades. Her research, service, and advocacy work have been grounded in her own lived experience as a refugee from Vietnam, and the struggles her family faced in the health care system. Trained as an epidemiologist, she has conducted community-based research, focusing on Asian Americans and immigrant populations, including examining occupational exposures and health impacts among Vietnamese nail salon workers. This work was inspired by her own mother, who passed from cancer at the age of 58, after working as a cosmetologist for decades. These research findings have contributed to the extraordinary work of the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative, informing community engagement with the nail salon workforce and policy advocacy. Dr. Quach currently serves as the Chief Deputy of Administration at Asian Health Services, a federally qualified health center in Oakland serving approximately 28,000 patients in English and 14 Asian languages. She is involved in local, statewide, and national research and policy efforts to promote health equity. In addition, she has been very involved in a relatively new organization – the Progressive Vietnamese American Organization (PIVOT), which engages and empowers Vietnamese Americans for a just and diverse America. Dr. Quach received her Bachelors of Art as U.C. Berkely, her Masters in Public Health at U.C.L.A. and her Ph.D. in Epidemiology at U.C. Berkeley. 

Tom Ikeda

Tom Ikeda

Workshop: Learn How to Preserve and Share Japanese American History with Digital Technology

Tom Ikeda is the founding Executive Director of Densho, a non-profit organization started in 1996. Densho’s mission is to preserve and share the history of the WWII Japanese American incarceration to promote justice and equity today. Tom is a sansei (third-generation Japanese American) who was born and raised in Seattle. Tom has conducted more than 250 video-recorded, oral history interviews with Japanese Americans; trained thousands of classroom teachers about the World War II Japanese American incarceration, and helped design Densho’s online educational resource. Prior to working at Densho, Tom was a General Manager at Microsoft Corporation in the Multimedia Publishing Group. Tom has received numerous awards for his community and historical contributions, including the Humanities Washington Award for outstanding achievement in the public humanities, the National JACL Japanese American of the Biennium Award, the Microsoft Alumni Integral Fellows Award, and the Japanese American National Museum Founder’s Award.

Tom Leatherman

Workshop: NPS Parks and Partners: Successes, Best Practices, and Opportunities

Tom Leatherman is currently the Superintendent at four National Park Service historic sites in the East Bay - Eugene O’Neill, John Muir National, Port Chicago Naval Magazine and Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front. He started his National Park Service (NPS) career in 1989 as an intern at what is now Pinnacles National Park. He served as a botanist and resource management specialist at various parks until 2005 when he was selected as the superintendent of Manzanar National Historic Site. He served in that position for three years before taking the position as the Deputy Superintendent of the four historic sites in the East Bay. He was selected as the Superintendent of these sites in January of 2011. Tom also serves as the NPS Pacific West Region Representative for the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program.

Wade Vagias

Workshop: NPS Parks and Partners: Successes, Best Practices, and Opportunities

Wade Vagias assumed his duties as Superintendent for Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve in October 2015 and for Minidoka National Historic Site and Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument in June 2017. Previously Wade served as the Management Assistant at Yellowstone National Park and before that worked in the Washington Headquarters Office of the National Park Service. Prior to joining the Park Service Vagias was a research associate at Clemson University in South Carolina where he earned his Ph.D. He holds an adjunct faculty appointment at Colorado State University and Montana State University where he serves on various graduate committees for students conducting research in parks and other protected areas. 

Margarita Satini

Workshop: Uplift & Listen

Margarita Satini Is a  Partnership Specialist with the United States Census Bureau, is an Organizing Representative with the Sierra Club, and chairs the Utah Pacific Islander Civic Engagement Coalition (UPICEC), She is known for her community work advocating for social justice, is a passionate advocate for her Pacific Islander Community and works towards bolstering civic engagement participation within her community.   Margarita is a community leader and has the skills in capacity building, program development, and has years of experience working in underrepresented, underserved communities. 


Margarita is a California transplant and now long-time resident of Utah. She along with her husband James are parents of four adult children and the grandparents of four spirited grandkids

Billy Palmer

Workshop: Fighting White Supremacy

For more than 15 years, Billy Palmer has been a community organizer and advocate for youth empowerment, civil rights and neighborhood reinvestment. Now a public affairs journalist and father of three, his different carriers included dancer and choreographer, music promoter and film maker.

He is the chair person for the YouthWorks Steering Committee at NeighborWorks SLC where he also sits on the board of directors as the outgoing president. His community engagement also includes organizing for the Utah Poor People’s Campaign and a member of the Friends of Arches and Canyonlands board of directors. 

For a living Billy is co-host and Associate Producer of RadioACTive, a community affairs show that highlights grassroots activists and community builders weeknights at 6 p.m. on 90.9fm KRCL. The Society of Professional Journalists-Utah Chapter named RadioACTive the top Public Affairs show in 2018.