JCCA President’s Report
The cherry blossoms are making an early appearance. The signs of spring are everywhere in Metro Vancouver, including the Annual General Meeting of the Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens’ Association which took place on March 14.
There was a good turnout of people, and we were honoured to have Maryka Omatsu, the first Asian female judge in Canada and a key member of the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) negotiating team who won Redress for Japanese Canadians, attend our AGM. A few people were trying to figure out her identity when outgoing president Derek Iwanaka pointed to a recent copy of The Bulletin magazine with an article and photos of her, and confirmed it really was her in the audience.
The AGM is an opportunity to hear about the work of the JCCA, and what is coming up in the year. The Human Rights Committee (HRC) report to the AGM covered a number of events in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island. One of the highlights was the work at Reconciling Injustices in a Pluralistic Canada. HRC members joined other community leaders in one of the most comprehensive events ever held in Canada to provide knowledge and expertise on the reconciliation of injustice.
Other events for the JCCA and HRC included Shinnenkai, Keirokai, the 100th anniversary of the Komagata Maru, 29th Annual Miners Memorial Weekend and 44th Annual Pacific Northwest Labour History Association Conference in Cumberland, Annual Wild Salmon Barbeque at Powell Street Festival, Musubi DIY (Do It Yourself) kit fundraiser, organizing the NAJC AGM and joint events with the Japanese Canadian Young Leaders (JCYL) conference, the world premiere of the Vancouver Asahi film, 25th Annual Women’s Memorial March, opening of the “χ̓əσναʔəμ, τηε χιτψ βεφορε τηε χιτψ” exhibits, and the First Annual JCCA Community Bowl-a-thon Fundraiser.
We thank past board members, Connie Kadota, Gabe Nutley, Paul Esslinger, and Tomiye Ishida for their hard work and dedication to the JCCA. And very special thanks to our past president Derek Iwanaka who gave up valuable family time for us, without complaint. We depended upon his endless energy, support, and he always did the work with incredible grace and a smile. For all of you, we know we continue to have your support and no doubt we will see you at some of the upcoming events. Except this time, you’ll get to enjoy the events as participants, and not have to do all the work behind the scenes.
The enthusiasm and work will continue with a new board, composed of some new directors and some returning directors, who were elected at the AGM. The GVJCCA Board for 2015/2016 includes Chika Buston, May Hamanishi, Judy Hanazawa, Angela Kruger, Greg Masuda, Gary Matson, Yuji Matson, Jack Matsushita, Rachael Nakamura, Lorene Oikawa, Rutsu Shikano, April Shimizu, Kathy Shimizu, Susanne Tabata, and Grace Eiko Thomson. The JCCA is in good hands with the experience and skills of this new board.
We’re also excited to have the Japanese Canadian Young Leaders of Vancouver join the JCCA as a sub-committee. This group of local young leaders came together at last year’s JCYL conference and have continued to meet since then. We’re looking forward to working with their energy and exploring new ideas as we learn from each other.
Members of the board will be busy with a number of upcoming events. We hope to see many from the Japanese Canadian community at Hastings Park on April 26th for the unveiling of four panels introducing the history of Japanese Canadians who were incarcerated at Hastings Park in 1942. The event will include a walking tour and reception. On June 14th, we’ll be practising our swing and having some fun at the 3rd Annual Tonari Gumi and JCCA Golf Tournament. Join us to support Japanese Canadian seniors. Look for more details on these and other events posted in The Bulletin. Happy spring from the GVJCCA Board!