Fundraiser to Be Held for Ronnie Nakashima

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Ronnie Nakashima (seated) and members of his support committee.

The Asian American Drug Abuse Program (AADAP) along with the Ronnie Nakashima Support Committee and other community groups will be hosting a community fundraiser of “Hope and Celebration” on Saturday, May 4, from 2 to 5 p.m.

Ronnie Nakashima as a young man.

The hope is for Ronnie Nakashima, who has an upcoming parole hearing in April. He has spent the past 38 years incarcerated for an offense he committed as a youth under the influence of drugs. After suffering a stroke in 1984, he has been wheelchair-bound and partially paralyzed.

Over the past four years, friends, family, and community allies have mobilized and formed the Ronnie Nakashima Support Committee (RNSC). Believing that he deserves a second chance, the committee has been helping him secure legal representation. In addition, RNSC has held a number of public events to bring attention to his case and also to the broader issues of Japanese Americans in prison. It has garnered support from figures like civil rights leader Yuri Kochiyama and former Assemblymember Warren Furutani.

The upcoming fundraiser aims to raise $3,000 to cover Nakashima’s legal representation. It will also be a celebration of the work and commitment of Marlene Lee, who has been a steadfast and longtime supporter of the community. Sponsored by the RNSC, AADAP, Asian Rehabilitative Services, the Yellow Brotherhood, and Matsubayashi Shorin-ryu Dojo of Little Tokyo, the event will offer musical entertainment, an open mike, and light refreshments.

“Hope and Celebration” will be held at AADP, at 2900 Crenshaw Blvd. in Los Angeles.

Donations for legal expenses can be made online at http://www.crowdrise.com/secondchanceforronnie/fundraiser/katakuris. Also, checks made out to Asian American Drug Abuse Program c/o Dean Nakanishi can be sent to AADP, 2900 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90016. Write “For Ronnie” on the check or envelope.

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