Densho Digital Repository
Seattle JACL Oral History Collection
Title: Janice Deguchi Interview
Narrator: Janice Deguchi
Interviewers: Alison Fujimoto, Joy Misako St. Germain
Date: November 11, 2020
Densho ID: ddr-sjacl-2-24-3

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AF: Got it. And can you talk about like any, I guess, significant accomplishments or takeaways you had from leading JACL in that period in your life?

JD: Yeah, it was... two things that come to mind. One is the campaign for, against I-200, which was the anti-affirmative action initiative in the state of Washington. And so that hit right about the time that I was, I think, president-elect or something like that. And I, you know, this is just right up our alley as JACL. Like we have to do something about I-200. And if you know, we just have to, and we have the organization, we have the membership, we have the money, we have leadership, and we are positioned to be able to activate ourselves to do something about I-200. And so we did a couple of things. First, you know, we're like, well, we need money so that we can, you know, mobilize and organize. And we had some, but we didn't have too much. So we wanted to... we, Sharon Sobie Seymour, Jeffrey Hattori, I think the three of us went down to JACL national board for money to help this campaign fight I-200, and we were rebuffed. They were, "Why don't we table this?" We came all the way here from Seattle to talk to you and ask you for this. And we didn't really get anywhere with them. And then around the corner was the convention. And so we knew that we wanted a bigger ask, I think we were going to ask for $5,000 or something like that from JACL national. And so when we got to convention time, they were putting in a resolution and we're going to ask $10,000. So we've doubled the ask to $10,000, and we lobbied that whole convention. And one of the vice presidents for JACL on the national board approached us and wanted us to make a backroom deal to lower it or, you know, like, well, how about something? And up until this point, like everybody we talked to was like, yeah, you go, Seattle, you got it. And I'm like, why would we agree to that? And if somebody wants to make an amendment to our motion, let them do it in the light of day, not agreeing to any backroom deal. So we passed the motion, nobody made an amendment, we got our $10,000 and we started, we brought the money to basically get APACE going. So Akemi Matsumoto basically used those, our seed money to create APACE, to create the organization to fight against I-200. And so that was one really, you know, memorable, cool triumph, I think.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2020 Seattle Chapter JACL. All Rights Reserved.