WASHINGTON — The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), in partnership with OCA National (Organization of Chinese Americans), hosted a successful JACL/OCA D.C. Leadership Summit from March 10 to 13 in the nation’s capital.

The summit brought in 30 members of JACL and OCA to attend a three-day intensive training. Participants enhanced their leadership and coalition-building skills by becoming familiar with the political process while learning critical issues that affect the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. They met with leaders in Congress and the Obama Administration,  as well as partners from the social justice community.

Summit participants pose in front of the U.S. Capitol Building.

This year’s leadership summit was one of the most inspirational ever,” said Floyd Mori, JACL national executive director. “Our speakers were right on message with the issues of the day and instilled a sense of urgency for each participant to become a serious advocate for the community. The combination of JACL and OCA participants created an atmosphere of cooperation and collaboration. I’d like to acknowledge our local JACL leaders for sending some quality participants.”

“State Farm is proud to be associated with the JACL/OCA Leadership Summit,” said Leslie Moe-Kaiser, who manages State Farm’s relations with AAPI organizations. “Ensuring the continuity of leadership talent is essential for sustaining two outstanding civil rights organizations dedicated to the well-being of Asian Pacific Islander Americans. We applaud the participants’ sustained commitment to their communities and wish them every success.”

JACL and OCA expressed gratitude for State Farm’s generous support of the summit.

Participants in this year’s summit were:

JACL — Amy Watanabe (Pacific Southwest), Curtis Suyematsu (Pacific Northwest), Donna Hansen (Intermountain District Council), Elaine Akagi (PNW), Hanako Wakatsuki (IDC), Jacce Mikulanec (Northern California-Western Nevada-Pacific), Kelly Honda (NCWNP), Kenjiro Lecroix (Midwest District Council), Jessica Moy (IDC), Laura Ng (Eastern District Council), Lynn Longfellow (PNW), Marissa Kitazawa (PSW), Matthew Asada (EDC), Stacy Matsuura (Central California District Council), Yuka Ogino (PSW)

OCA — Cecilia Pham (Greater Houston), Christopher Loo (Hawaii), Dora Quach (Greater Los Angeles), Esther Choi (New York), Gary Chiu (Dallas-Fort Worth), Harvey Dam (Utah), Jeffrey Wu (Greater Washington, D.C.), Kevin Mori (Orange County), Lily Li (Eastern Virginia), Lisa Drake (Las Vegas), Renuka Mishra (Tucson), Shan Cong (St. Louis), Susie Wong (Sacramento), Teresa Chao (Georgia), Yoon Yim (Central Illinois)

The JACL and OCA were honored to have a number of distinguished guests speak at the summit, including U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii; Tina Tchen, chief of staff, Office of the First Lady; Mark Keam, 39th District delegate, Virginia House of Delegates; and Bruce Yamashita, former Marine Corps officer.

“Overall, the three days spent participating in the 2012 JACL/OCA Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. was incredible and unforgettable,” stated Stacy Matsuura. “I am so overjoyed that I had the chance to listen to phenomenal AAPI advocates and experts from the community, participate in a wonderful well-organized summit, and network with amazing participants around the nation. I look forward in continuing the discussion and working together with JACL and OCA toward the efforts for equity and equality in our communities.”

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