The Japanese American Citizens League on March 17 announced that William Yoshino will be retiring at the end of this month after 38 years of service.

JACL Acting Executive Director Bill Yoshino (Photo by Gil Asakawa)

“We thank him for his incredible dedication and humble leadership of the JACL and the Asian Pacific American community,” the organization said in a statement.

“Mr. Yoshino was originally hired as the Midwest director in 1978, the year JACL officially launched its redress campaign. He assisted in organizing outreach to members of Congress in the Midwest for legislation to establish the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, as well as for the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. He then worked with the Office of Redress Administration to assist in contacting individuals who were eligible to receive redress payments.

“Following the redress campaign, Mr. Yoshino helped to focus JACL on the issue of anti-Asian sentiment and hate crimes. His many contributions to this area include testifying in the U.S. Senate on the Hate Crimes Statistics Act of 1988; producing hate crime material, including a semi-annual newsletter on hate crimes and hate incidents; and presenting hate crime workshops at college conferences.

“Mr. Yoshino has also been instrumental in continuing JACL’s work in education. He has organized teacher training workshops through grants from the National Park Service and the National Endowment for the Humanities, revised and updated the JACL curriculum guide, and produced educational materials on Japanese American internment and Asian Pacific Islander history. He also established the JACL Collegiate Washington, D.C. Leadership Program and has provided fellowship opportunities to college graduates.

“Mr. Yoshino’s institutional knowledge and leadership have had a profound effect on the many staff and members he has worked with over the years, particularly those in the Midwest Region. We are deeply appreciative of his many years of service as Midwest director in addition to the times he has stepped up to lead the organization when needed, including as executive director from 1988-92, and twice as interim executive director, most recently since last summer.

“The JACL National Board will work closely with staff, membership, and community partners as we continue our search for a new executive director and will continue to keep all informed on the next steps for our organization. We are grateful for Bill’s commitment to the JACL and his passion for the community and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

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