2020 Legacy Fund Grant Winners

The JACL Legacy Fund Grants Committee is pleased to announce funding recipients for the 2020 Legacy Fund program year. JACL Chapters and Districts are eligible to apply for a grant for a project or activity that is supportive of the National JACL Strategic Plan. The Legacy Fund was established at the JACL National Convention in 1990 through donations from numerous Japanese Americans who contributed their redress monies to support research and education that would help prevent such future injustices. 

Our thanks to the Legacy Fund Grants Committee for volunteering their time and expertise to the LFG Program: Sheldon Arakaki (PNW), James Craig (NCWNP), Jeanette Ishii (CCDC), Carol Kawamoto (PSW), Mika Kennedy (MDC), Janet Komoto (IDC), Teresa Maebori (EDC), Caitlin Takeda (NY/SC) and Committee Co-Chairs Toshi Abe (EDC) and Roberta Barton (CCDC). Thanks also to Patty Wada, NCWNP Regional Director, and Matthew Farrells, VP for Planning and Development, for your kind words, advice, and support of the LFG Program. Though not a committee member, we also wish to acknowledge Ron Katsuyama (Dayton JACL) for his expert statistical work with the committee’s scoring system.

Philadelphia JACL and Seabrook JACL ($5,000) —The Third Location: Exhibit on Japanese American Resettlement in the Greater Philadelphia Region

A joint exhibit curated by the Philadelphia and Seabrook JACL chapters to document the experiences of many Nisei who moved to the Greater Philadelphia Area. Philadelphia was the first major city in the U.S. to welcome Japanese Americans out from the incarceration camps. The exhibit shares the stories of individuals and families through the art objects they created. A selection of WRA commissioned photographs will also be on display. 

New York JACL ($5,000) — Yuri Kochiyama’s Harlem: Place, Politics, and Social Change

This project researches the life of Yuri Kochiyama, an activist in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. Kochiyama avidly supported Malcolm X and the Black Panthers, advocated for Puerto Rican independence, pursued redress and reparations for incarcerated Japanese Americans during WWII, and fought alongside students seeking ethnic studies programs in their universities. This project will produce a walking tour guidebook of about 20 key locations throughout Harlem, where Kochiyama lived for 40 years. A live walking tour will be held in May 2021 and the guidebook and tour stops will be published online for use by local educators and organizers studying AAPI activism. It’s anticipated that the Yuri Kochiyama walking tour can become a part of the New York Day of Remembrance activities. 

New Mexico JACL ($2,500) – New Mexico Japanese American Film Festival

This project highlights five film and media activists for a three-day film festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The film showings will be augmented by panel discussions. Panelists include Emiko Omori, Chizu Omori, Alan Kondo, Claudia Katayanagi, Kerwin Berk, and JACL Executive Director David Inoue. The films to be shown include Rabbit In the Moon, A Brief History of Tsuru for Solidarity, Kikan: The Homecoming, Crystal City Pilgrimage, and A Bitter Legacy.

Twin Cities JACL ($4,995)— The Next Generations: A New Telling of the Japanese American WWII ExperienceI

This project proposes to train a new generation of speakers for the Twin Cities JACL speakers bureau by organizing workshops to train new speakers and then a program at the 2021 Day of Remembrance to allow newly recruited speakers to share their presentations with a wider audience. The workshops will be conducted over three half-day sessions at the East Side Freedom Library in St. Paul, Minn. In conjunction with the workshops, the chapter proposes to create a condensed version of the Smithsonian Museum exhibit, Righting A Wrong, which will be on display during the 2021 Day of Remembrance and at various community centers and businesses as requested.

Snake River JACL/IDC ($2,000) —MINIDOKA! 

A program with multiple components to honor the more than 500 incarcerates from Minidoka who lived in the Ontario, Oregon area. The project features (1) an exhibit of artifacts from the Four Rivers Cultural Center and Museum and from local residents, (2) a presentation by Mia Russell, Executive Director of Friends of Minidoka, (3) a live performance by the Minidoka Swing Band, (4) a showing of the film, Minidoka: An American Concentration Camp, and (5) a Swing Band presentation to Ontario middle school students that also includes a school visit to the exhibit. 

Detroit JACL ($5,000) — Exiled to Motown: Japanese Americans in Detroit (2020 expansion)

Building on its successful 2018 project, this project reimagines Exiled to Motown as an intereative, multi-modal exhibition to bring stories of Detroit’s Japanese American community into a three-dimensional space. New stories from members of the Detroit JACL chapter will be collected as well. This exhibit connects the history of Japanese Americans in Detroit to the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. The exhibit will be hosted in the Detroit Historical Museum’s Community Gallery. Among the exhibits will be a large, wall-size tripartite timeline that notates major events in the community’s history. Large scale maps will also chart Japanese American movement across the U.S. and into/out of Michigan. Maps will also show how housing in Metro Detroit was racially restricted. Audio interviews around the murder of Vincent Chin and the subsequent movement of pan-Asian activism in the area are also to be featured. The current Exiled to Motown traveling exhibit will also be reformatted and reprinted to improve on it’s effectiveness and also to meet the accessibility guidelines of the Detroit Historical Museum.

Seattle JACL ($5,000) – Seattle JACL: 100 Years of Activism

This project creates a portable multi-screen display to tell the Chapter’s story and to share its legacy. Each screen will be devoted to a specific subject and can be a stand-alone or shown in combination with other screens. The exhibit will be displayed at community events and as a special exhibit at local museums, community centers, and churches. Exhibit booklets will be printed for chapter members and to share with the greater community.

Portland JACL ($2,250) – Mochitsuki 25th Anniversary Headliner

Mochitsuki is Portland’s annual Japanese New Year celebration and has been a premier event in the local community since 1996 as well as one of the largest events of its kind in the nation. The Chapter will secure a nationally recognized performer/artist that centers around the histories and experiences of Japanese Americans and improve visibility of the culturally significant event through diversified promotion. Students and young professionals will be further engaged in the experience through a private “meet and greet” with the performer/artist.

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