By Derek Iwanaka
From September 19th until September 21st, the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Vancouver concurrently with its 2nd Annual Japanese Canadian Young Leaders Conference (JCYLC), which was an initiative funded by the NAJC. Both events were hosted by GVJCCA as the hometown NAJC chapter organization. Over 40 delegates and another 30+ young leaders converged in Vancouver from across Canada to take part in these two dynamic weekend events.
It is hard to put into words how wonderful the weekend was for us and hopefully, the photos will give you a glimpse into the gathering that took place.
The JCYLC was an excellent opportunity for young leaders (from teenagers to 39-year-olds) to connect, bond, and generate even more enthusiasm, which has been building between the young leaders who have been working together on the organizing committee – but now also included the other 20 young leaders who joined in for the first time. The positive energy and excitement was palpable and you can be sure that there will be another conference next year (luckily, the NAJC passed their budget which included funds for this!).
Also, we’re happy to announce that the winner of The Gordon Hirabayashi Human Rights Award was Terry Watada, who told a series of JC stories that rivaled any Hollywood movie plots as his keynote address. Also, the winners of the Hide (Hyodo) Shimizu Scholarships were Kaya Newman (yes, John Endo Greenaway’s daughter!) who just started her degree at the University of Victoria, and Julia Aoki and Ayaka Yoshimizu, currently both PhD candidates in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University, who’s work involves detailing the movements/migrations of sexworkers from Japan to Vancouver, into the interior, as well as the logistics of running brothels, such as sexworkers’ relationship to police, to other racialized groups and to European-settler communities.
We will definitely be writing more about this weekend’s events in upcoming Bulletin / Geppo issues. For now, we are very pleased with how the weekend went and have thus far received lots of positive feedback. We are extremely excited about the new connections, camaraderie, and excitement that were generated amongst those that attended. We look forward to opportunity of working together, perhaps on a national-level, on community-building, arts and culture, history, and human rights issues and projects in the years to come.
In addition to our deep gratitude to the NAJC for funding the AGM and the JCYLC, we are also extremely grateful for their ongoing support of the GVJCCA through the NAJC’s Cultural Development and Community Development programmes. The funds will be used help The Bulletin / Geppo bridge the gap between English and Japanese speakers within the community by creating a more cohesive publication with better integration of Japanese and English languages, and by enriching and expanding content to maintain and improve the journal’s relevance and uniqueness. We deeply appreciate the financial support of the NAJC to help us better serve the community!
photos: Koichi Saito