by Stan Shikuma, Retrieved from Seattle JACL press release
On July 21, 2018, at their National Convention in Philadelphia, PA, the National Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) proudly named Diane Narasaki as Japanese American of the Biennium in the field of Business/Industry/Technology.
The Japanese American of the Biennium Award is the highest public award of the National JACL. Since 1950, the National JACL has recognized and honored those Americans of Japanese ancestry whose outstanding achievements in different fields of endeavor have received regional and national recognition and whose contributions have added to the sum of human knowledge and/or enhanced the quality of life in our society.
In nominating Diane Narasaki for this award, the Seattle Chapter JACL wrote:
“In October 2018, Diane Narasaki retires after 24 years as Executive Director for the Asian Counseling and Referral Service, one of the nation’s largest multi-cultural social, vocational, educational, and civic engagement agencies in the country. Diane’s story is one of years of advocacy on behalf of marginalized communities, separated from mainstream American society by race, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, language, economic class, and education.
Diane’s ability to coalesce diverse groups of smaller communities into larger coalitions deepens their impact. She believes that groups have more in common than differences, and there is strength in numbers. As the Director of the Northwest Employment and Labor Office over forty years ago, Diane employed this strategy to bring together Filipino fish cannery workers, Latino farmers, and Black construction workers. She continues this strategy today with the Asian Pacific Islander Coalition, a statewide coalition of Asian Pacific American agencies and non-profit organizations.
Diane Narasaki is a nationally recognized leader in mental health, social services, community relations, and many other areas, appointed to commissions by City, State, and Federal leaders, including President Obama.
The Seattle Chapter JACL was proud to nominate Diane and help host her at the Convention in Philadelphia. Congratulations, Diane on an honor well-deserved!
Other awardees this year were Lynne Nishijima Ward in the field of Political/Public Affairs/Law and Harriet Miyasato Beleal in the field of Education/Humanities. Past award recipients from Seattle since 1990 include: Tomio Moriguchi, George Tsutakawa, Aki Kurose, Gordon Hirabayashi, Tom Ikeda, Tetsuden Kashima, Frank Fujii, and the Seattle Nisei Veterans Committee/NVC Foundation.