Community Leaders to Be Honored at JACL Convention


Three Nikkei community leaders will be recognized during the 42nd JACL National Convention, to be held July 7 to 10 at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel & Spa.

• Traci Kato-Kiriyama is a multidisciplinary artist, arts educator, community organizer and founder of the Tuesday Night Project, a free public art venue and “art+community” space dedicated to people interested in furthering their community engagement and creative work. As the author of a recently published collected of poetry titled “Signaling” (The Undeniables Press), she tours universities, libraries and community events, presenting readings and workshops to diverse audiences from performers to youth educators, high school students to senior citizens.

The JACL Pacific Southwest District honors Kato-Kiriyama as an artist who has worked to bring together art and the community, using art not only as a means of creative expression but a tool for teaching and community organizing.

• Alan Nishio retired as the associate vice president for student services at California State University, Long Beach in 2006. He also was a member of the founding staff and director of the Asian American Studies Center at UCLA. He has dedicated a lifetime of effort to higher education issues, while maintaining a degree of involvement with the Japanese American community. He played a major role in efforts to obtain redress for the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. He serves as president of the board of Little Tokyo Service Center Community Development Corporation in Los Angeles, and as chair of the California Japanese American Community Leadership Council.

The JACL Pacific Southwest District commends Nishio for his work in higher education and his tireless leadership and involvement in the Japanese American community through many decades.

• Paul Osaki is the executive director of the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California in San Francisco. He has been extensively involved with various other community-based nonprofit organizations in the past 33 years, and helped to create and organize the California Japanese American Community Leadership Council. He has also been a leading voice in the preservation of California’s three Japantowns. Osaki additionally led the statewide outreach and educational campaign for projects that enabled Nisei to receive the high school and college diplomas that were denied to them during World War II. He helped raised over $600,000 toward the Kobe earthquake relief efforts in 1995, and is currently involved in efforts to raise funds for victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan.

The JACL Pacific Southwest District wishes to recognize Osaki’s contributions and accomplishments in community work and U.S.-Japan relations as a leader in the Japanese American and greater California communities.

Local honorees will be recognized at the Awards Luncheon on Friday, July 8.

The national honorees — Lt. Daniel Choi, U.S. Army; Lisa Hasegawa, National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development; and Father Vien Nguyen, Mary Queen of Viet Nam Community Development Corporation — will be recognized at the Culmination Banquet on Saturday, July 9.

For more information on the convention, call (213) 626-4471 or visit


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