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JACL Anti-Blackness Seminars

McKenna Asakawa(left) and Ayanna Yonemura (right)

By David Yamaguchi, The North American Post

The N.A.P. checked in with the Seattle JACL, to see how its Anti-Blackness seminars have been going.

McKenna Asakawa, one of two lead organizers, responded:

“We started planning this series of free webinars for Nikkei youth last summer in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery…

“I’ve personally been blown away by the response, as people from all over the country (and world!) have shown up to listen, share stories, and take first steps together toward practicing anti-racism.

“We’ve had between 30 and 60 participants at each workshop… The group has varying levels of experience with anti-racist learning and action. Some are workers/activists/teachers in the DEI [Diversity, Equity, Inclusion] space. Others are new to this conversation…

“Dr. [Ayanna] Yonemura led the group through an exploration of historical institutionalized racism against African Americans and Japanese Americans. Her presentation revealed similarities in political, economic, and social experiences of Black Americans and JAs, demonstrating how white supremacy has been at the root of racist policies that have oppressed both communities.”