WASHINGTON — The Japanese American Citizens League will host its annual National JACL Gala Awards Dinner, “A Salute to Champions,” on Thursday, Oct. 9, at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C.
This year, JACL will celebrate and recognize individuals and organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to promoting diversity in their respective field or industry. The honorees are Bill Imada and “Hawaii Five-0” writers Peter Lenkov and Ken Solarz.
Imada is founder, chairman and chief collaboration officer of IW Group, a minority-owned and operated advertising agency focusing on the growing multicultural markets. He is an active member of the Asian American community, as well as a member of President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islanders. As a business leader, he has promoted supplier diversity and Asian American Pacific Islander businesses, and has changed the corporate landscape relative to supplier diversity.
Lenkov and Solarz are the writers of the December 2013 Hawaii Five-0 episode “Ho’onani Makuakane” (Honor Thy Father), whose plot centered on the incarceration of Japanese Americans in Hawaii at Honouliuli during World War II. Both have written and produced extensively in both television and theater over the past 20 years. Their Honouliuli-based episode is an exemplary example of an intersection between creative media and an authentic portrayal of the Asian American story.
The JACL will also be recognizing the leadership of Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) with the JACL Congressional Award and UPS with the JACL Corporate Partner Award.
Smith is in his ninth term representing the Puget Sound area in Washington state, one of most heavily Asian American-populated regions in the United States. In addition to being actively involved with Asian American groups in his district, such as Seattle JACL, he has been a steadfast advocate for the end of laws that have permitted the indefinite detention without trial of American citizens and foreign nationals since 9/11, as well as for the closing of Guantanamo Bay.
UPS has been a strong corporate supporter of JACL and other organizations that strive to achieve greater justice for the world. The UPS Foundation, the corporate giving arm of UPS, has supported organizations committed to inclusion and diversity since the 1960s.
“At this year’s gala we recognize those who believe in the importance of a diverse America that embraces every American community,” said Priscilla Ouchida, JACL executive director. “We honor those who have worked tirelessly to further the goal of diversity, to expand opportunities to all Americans, and to advocate for the inclusion of every segment of society.”