From left: Jon Osaki, Visionary Impact Award; David Ono, Community Leader Award; Donald Tamaki, President’s Justice & Equality Award; Staci Tomita, JABA president.
Veroniea Miracle of ABC7 Eyewitness News served as emcee.

The Japanese American Bar Association’s 45th annual Installation and Awards Gala was held on July 15 on the Plaza Deck at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles with over 400 in attendance. 

The theme was “Reconnecting” and Veronica Miracle, KABC Channel 7 News anchor, emceed the event.

The keynote speaker and recipient of the President’s Justice and Equality Award was Don Tamaki, a founding partner of Minami Tamaki LLP in San Francisco and co-founder of Stop Repeating History, a campaign created to educate the public on the importance of political engagement and how we can all take action against hate. 

In the 1980s, Tamaki served on the pro bono legal team that reopened the landmark 1944 Supreme Court case of Fred Korematsu, overturning Korematsu’s criminal conviction for defying the incarceration of almost 120,000 Japanese Americans. In 2017, Tamaki served on the legal team that filed an amicus brief challenging the Trump Administration’s Muslim ban. 

Tamaki is now among nine individuals appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature to serve on California’s Reparations Task Force studying the cumulative historic and present-day impact of 250 years of enslavement, 90 years of Jim Crow oppression, and 60 years of segregation and its vestiges, and what California might do to address these harms.

JABA honored KABC-TV news anchor David Ono with the Community Leader Award for his years of commitment to community service. He has produced several documentaries chronicling the Asian American and immigrant experience, including the incarceration of Japanese Americans and Phan Thi Kim Phuc, the “Napalm Girl” from the Vietnam War.

Award-winning Bay Area filmmaker and social justice activist Jon Osaki received the Visionary Impact Award for his use of storytelling to educate, organize and inspire action. His works include “Alternative Facts: The Lies of Executive Order 9066” and “Reparations.”

The gala also featured East L.A. Taiko, a multicultural group that marries Afro-Cuban rhythms with driving taiko beats.

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