Rep. Mike Honda (at podium) swears in the new JACL board members. (Photo by Mark L. Dodge)

BELLEVUE, Wash. — The Japanese American Citizens League National Council met at the 43rd National Convention in early July to establish the direction of the organization for 2013-14.

A key action taken by the council was the ratification of the Power of Words Handbook, a 14-page resource that includes recommended terminology for discussing and describing the Japanese American experience during World War II.

The following resolutions were also adopted by the National Council:

• A resolution affirming JACL’s support for the pursuit of justice and equality for the Wards Cove cannery workers as outlined in H.R. 4275, Rep. Jim McDermott’s (D-Wash.) Justice for Wards Cove Workers Act. The resolution urges courts to restore access to remedies under the 1991 Civil Rights Act, and to return the burden of proof to the employer in discrimination cases.

• A resolution to establish a JACL award in honor of Colorado Gov. Ralph L. Carr to recognize individuals who have acted courageously to protect civil rights. During World War II, Carr put his political career at risk by speaking out for the rights of Japanese Americans.

• A resolution affirming JACL’s support of access to Medicaid coverage for Micronesians in Hawaii. The resolution requests Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Hawaii Attorney General David Louie to withdraw the appeal of Korab v. McManaman currently before the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

• A resolution affirming JACL’s support of restoration of federal health benefits for Micronesians living in the U.S. pursuant to the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2012 (S. 2474) introduced by Sens. Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye (both D-Hawaii).

• A resolution affirming JACL’s support of the creation of a permanent memorial at the Tanforan Assembly Center site in San Bruno (San Mateo County), using language consistent with Power of Words Handbook.

The National Council voted to amend the constitution and bylaws to change the title of “national director” to “executive director.”

A proposed amendment that would have added three JACL monthly membership categories (Silver, Gold, and Platinum) was voted down.

The JACL also announced its National Board for the 2012-2014 biennium. The new officers were administered the oath of office by Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose) at the convention’s Sayonara Banquet on July 7.

The National Board consists of eight elected officers, seven district governors and two non-voting members that are appointed by the national president. Governors are selected by members in each geographic district to represent them on the National Board. National officers are elected every two years by delegates representing each of the 109 chapters throughout the U.S., and in Japan.

“The new National Board is composed of a dynamic and diverse group of individuals representing a wide range of generations, ethnic backgrounds and areas of professional expertise,” said JACL Executive Director Priscilla Ouchida. “I’m excited about the ideas and opportunities that this board can bring to the organization in both addressing the critical issues of today, and preparing for the future.”

The officers elected at the convention are:

David Lin, president

Elaine Akagi, vice president of general operations

Craig Tomiyoshi, vice president of public affairs

Jason Chang, vice president of planning and development

John Moy, vice president of membership

Matthew Farrells, secretary/treasurer

Jeff Moy, National Youth/Student Council chair

Mariko Newton, National Youth/Student Council representative

The two non-voting members of the board are Floyd Shimomura, legal counsel, and Carol Kawamoto, Pacific Citizen Editorial Board chair.

The district governors are:

Marcia Chung, Central California District Council

Toshi Abe, Eastern District Council

Jeanette Misaka, Intermountain District Council

Chip Larouche, Pacific Northwest District Council

Kenneth Inouye, Pacific Southwest District Council

Stephanie Nitahara, Midwest District Council

David Unruhe, Northern California Western Nevada and Pacific District Council

For more information on the organization, visit

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