ALTADENA — The annual Fall Festival of the First Presbyterian Church, 2775 Lincoln Ave. in Altadena, will be held on Saturday, Sept. 21, from 3 to 8 p.m.

Veronica Ota

In addition to enjoying Japanese cultural events and foods, art and photo museum, boutique, children’s games, raffle of valuable prizes, and the opportunity to enjoy fellowship with old friends, attendees can attend a special program in the church sanctuary from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

At that time, Veronica Ota, a fourth-generation Japanese American of mixed descent and a long-time member of the church and Los Angeles-area Japanese American community groups, will present a program in which she and participants can share in presenting, discussing and developing ethical responses to issues in contemporary American life.

Such issues will reflect the suffering endured by her grandparents while incarcerated during World War II and by those affected by the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. She will reflect on her family’s experiecnes as well as her research of Japanese hibakusha literature to examine the dangerous and problematic legacy of those historical moments, and will ground her discussion through an affirmation of values shared by all major religious traditions.

Ota is an educator, writer, musician, and peace advocate. She is a graduate of Tufts University with a degree in international literary studies with a focus in Japanese literature. She taught English as a second language in Shizuoka through the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Program, and she studied Hiroshima and Nagasaki hibakusha haiku, utilizing the themes of the poetry to provide an ethical framework of nuclear nonproliferation and to share a new expression of peace advocacy.

Most recently, for the fourth straight year, she has completed teaching a Summer Peace Camp for young children at the church, where 27 campers and over 40 volunteers demonstrated God’s peace through faith, hope and love.

For more information, call (626) 791-4271 or visit

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