Densho Digital Repository
Seattle JACL Oral History Collection
Title: Sarah Baker Interview
Narrator: Sarah Baker
Interviewers: Brent Seto, Bill Tashima
Date: January 29, 2022
Densho ID: ddr-sjacl-2-31-1

<Begin Segment 1>

BT: Okay. Welcome everybody. This is another interview in our series for our Legacy Fund Grant that we received through the National JACL to record the history of the legacy of the Japanese American Citizens League here in Seattle. And today, we're going to interview Sarah Baker, an amazing person who served as unprecedented president for our chapter for four terms. And leading the interview will be our UW intern, Brent Seto. And with that, I'm going to turn it over to Brent.

BS: All right, yeah. Hi, everyone. Thank you, Bill for the introduction. And just to give a brief introduction about myself as well, I use he/him pronouns, and I am one of the JACL interns for this year, and I'm a junior at the University of Washington double majoring in Political Science and Law, Societies and Justice. Within my majors, my focus is on international relations, courts and legal institutions, and human rights. I'm passionate about activism and advocacy, heavily involved in the student government on campus through the Student Senate. Just a fun fact about me is that in my free time I like to rock climb and play tennis. I'm originally from San Jose, California, and I wanted to intern with the JACL because I am a fourth generation Japanese American, but I actually know very little about JA history and culture. And the JACL provided me with an opportunity to connect with the JA community and learn more about myself and my identity. So Stephanie is a new member of the interview and is joining us to audit, and would you like to just say like a little introduction about yourself for the recording?

ST: Yeah, Hi, I'm Stephanie Terasaki, she/her pronouns. I'm a new member of the Seattle JACL and part of the Civil Rights Committee, as well as the legacy committee here. And I'm excited to audit this. And my background is in arts and culture in the Seattle area, and I'm a Seattle native. So thank you for letting me audit.

BS: All right, thank you. And then, I guess, jumping right into it, Sarah, can you tell us a little about yourself? Like, where were you born and raised and what are your ties to the city of Seattle?

SB: Yeah, so Sarah Baker, she/her pronouns. Yeah. Born and raised here in Seattle, so I was born in Ballard and raised mostly like in the north end. Yeah, I'm also, I have your interview questions up, so I'm using them as a reference point. Let's see, I went to Summit K-12 for high school, which is relevant because it was like a very small, like social justice art school. My graduating class, I think was like less than thirty people. And, you know, as I mentioned, it was a social justice based school, and so that's kind of like where I got my start doing this type of like advocacy work that we'll talk about more later, I'm sure. But yeah, been in Seattle my whole life. I've worked in Pike Place Market for almost twenty years now, which is pretty crazy to think about. In fact, I just had to pull up my W-2, I'm applying for jobs, and I was like, oh my god, I started working there in like, 2005, I think. Wild! [Laughs]

BS: Yeah, that's really cool. I've heard that you work for a vegetable stand over there. Like, that's such a cool job. What do you think of your work, and how has it impacted you so far?

SB: Oh, my gosh, I mean, working in Pike Place, like, if you can work down there for any extended period of time, I'm pretty sure that you can work anywhere. It's rough, because they are not doing this as much these days. But back when the cruise ships were in full swing, you might have like, I don't know, four ships docked, and there'd be like, hundreds of thousands of people coming through every day and it's just total chaos. So I think that, like, having that experience definitely lends itself to being able to work with people from all different walks of life, all different intersectionalities, like, my customer service skills are so on point. [Laughs]

BS: Yeah, that makes sense. I totally get that.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2022 Seattle Chapter JACL. All Rights Reserved.