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Seattle JACL Dinner

By David Yamaguchi The North American Post

On Friday, July 15, the Seattle chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League held a small dinner at Terry’s Kitchen. The event was a social/celebration with its past presidents and the Chapter Legacy Project Committee. The latter included UW student interns who led the research and recorded interviews. Since the committee work coincided with the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak, this was the first time the entire committee was able to meet in person.

The gathering reemphasized the chapter’s centennial last September (“Seattle JACL 100th Anniversary,” napost.com, Sep. 9, 2021). It also reminded all present of the chapter’s continuing work, which has included the Legacy Project and the distribution of scholarships (“Seattle JACL Scholarship Recipients,” May 22, 2022).

Also new has been the posting of all chapter monthly newsletters on densho.org. Until now, the newsletters had been sitting quietly in the archives of the UW Libraries.

Accordingly, it is now far easier to see how landmark Japanese American civil rights goals were achieved. For example, while most readers today remember JA redress in the 1980s, scarcely known are fights against the Washington State Alien Land Law (1921), which ended Issei land ownership, and the 1923 revision that closed the loophole of transferring property to a US-born Nisei child. The Seattle JACL’s origins lie in weighty campaigns such as these.

The Seattle JACL has also served as a key training ground for running board meetings and nonprofit organizations.

Left, University of Washington student interns Elaine Kim, Anna Tanaka and Brent Seto. They stand in front of the chapter legacy banners they helped make. Middle, Chapter Legacy Project Committee. There, additional individuals pictured (back row from left) are Bill Tashima, Arlene Oki, UW faculty advisor Vince Schleitwiler, Joy St. Germaine, Kyle Kinoshita, and Tsuki Nomura Henley (front left). Right, past chapter presidents. Photos: Theo Bickel, Seattle JACL