An online roundtable discussion with some of JACL’s women in leadership will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 16, at 4 p.m. PDT/7 p.m. EDT.
For login information, click here.
From the JACL’s beginning to now, women have always played a vital part in Japanese American history. Participants will discuss the impact various JA women have had within the JACL and nationally, and have a candid conversation with women who currently hold leadership positions in JACL.
Cheyenne Cheng (moderator) was born and raised in Jacksonville, Fla. and graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s in psychology. During her time at UF, she led a task force in support of Asian American studies and co-founded the Asian American Oral History Project, which seeks to collect narratives of Asian Americans at UF and in the greater South.
Cheng currently serves on the national board for the East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) as a mobilization coordinator, educating Asian American and Pacific Islander students across the East Coast through advocacy-based workshops and initiatives. She is also the current Norman Y. Mineta fellow for the JACL based in Washington, D.C.
Born in Los Angeles and raised in Milwaukee, Mieko Kuramoto graduated from Smith College with a B.A. in Spanish and American studies. As an undergrad, she focused on Asian American studies and political advocacy in the Asian American Pacific Islander community, including doing research on Census outreach in Asian American communities and founding a campus organization for AAPI political activism.
Kuramoto’s first experiences with youth leadership were through the Japanese American Citizens League, where she found her passion for advocacy. She has served on the National Youth/Student Council for the last four years, the last two of which she sat on the JACL National Board as the national youth representative. In that role, Kuramoto has designed programming on topics ranging as widely as Asian American identity, feminism, immigration detention, and intra-community conversations about race.
One movement, in particular, has inspired both her policy and personal focus: Tsuru for Solidarity, a Japanese American-led project working to end detention sites and support frontline immigrant and refugee communities targeted by state violence. Her time on the steering committee and role as the chair of the youth committee, Tsuru Next Generation, emphasized the importance of coalition-building and drawing on community memory to denounce systems of mass incarceration.
Kuramoto is currently beginning as a congressional fellow with the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies. She will be working in the Office of Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside).
Carol Kawamoto is a San Diego native and the holder of a Bachelor of Arts degree in child development and a master of education degree from San Diego State University. She also possesses an administrative credential from Point Loma Nazarene University. She served six terms as the San Diego JACL Chapter president, two terms as the JACL Pacific Southwest District Governor, two terms as the National JACL vice president for planning and development, and two terms as the chair of the Pacific Citizen Editorial Board.
In 2002, she was named JACLer of the Biennium in recognition for her work in developing the JACL’s Teacher Training Guide. She currently serves as chair of the National Education Committee.
Sarah Baker currently serves on the JACL National Board as the vice president of public affairs. She is also on the board of the Seattle Chapter, where she recently finished serving for four years as board president. She presently works for Communities Rise, an organization that provides pro bono legal services to nonprofits and small businesses within the state of Washington. In addition to this, she also holds a part-time job at Pike Place Market, where she has worked for the past 16 years, and is a graduate student at Seattle University.
She is passionate about exploring intersectionality as a queer, mixed-race person, and loves to lead identity workshops. A Seattle-born Japanese American, Baker enjoys working out, sensory deprivation tanks, and expression through different forms of movement such as dance.
Lisa Shiosaki Olsen is an educator at heart who loves to teach and interact with students. She currently teaches English at Thunder Ridge High but has also taught at a juvenile detention center, middle school, and technical high school. She has a strong passion for service and currently serves as a board member of the Idaho State Board of Education Curricular Review Committee. She also works as a review member of the Idaho Standards for Initial Certification of Professional School Personnel committee.
Olsen is a lifelong member of the JACL and has been working in leadership positions for the last eight years. She is currently the president of the Idaho Falls Chapter, a co-chair of the Strategic Plan Committee, and the current Intermountain District Council Governor. She loves to spend time with her family and grandchildren. She is an avid gardener and can often be found in her backyard garden with her chickens.