Densho Digital Repository
Seattle JACL Oral History Collection
Title: Joy Misako St. Germain Interview
Narrator: Joy Misako St. Germain
Interviewers: Ana Tanaka, Dr. Kyle Kinoshita
Date: March 2, 2022
Densho ID: ddr-sjacl-2-35-6

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AT: I feel like the, yeah, like you were just saying the mission statement of the JACL is probably very similar now to what it was before. Maybe just different in specifics, but I mean, the way people are being treated is unfortunately, not... hasn't changed too much. I mean, we see parallels with other, like you were saying, other ethnic groups and other minorities. So, I guess, shifting to kind of the -- I don't think this is something we wrote specifically on our set of questions. But you mentioned you did, you've worked in human resources for quite some time. And I guess I was just wondering, maybe how your job and the skills that you've acquired through that maybe translated to kind of your activism and what you do now or what you've done in the past?

JSG: I think it's, this interest, did my activism, JACL work, move into my professional or vice versa. I think that the common competencies are really about... the way I approach activism is through peaceful means, and also through diplomacy and negotiations and really trying to learn and understand, and through discussions, courageous conversations. So that's really the way I have always approached my activism of how to make a difference is really... and then looking at systems through changes in the law, or through writing to our lawmakers, and really doing that through relationship building. So I think within an organization, those same perspectives or competencies in an organization, luckily, in the human resource field, a lot of that is focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion. So for employees -- not only for employees, but usually human resources is more internally focused -- to help support and educate employees about what does that mean to be inclusive, and what is equity, and how do we want to treat each other, and then looking at our systems and the way, just like an organization is a microcosm of the bigger whole. There are systems in place that are unintended, but there are historical systems that need to be reviewed and looked at to see are our existing laws and policies actually harming people in inequitable ways? We're working to diversify the workforce, which all my organizations I work with, are striving to do. How do you do that? And so I feel as though my passion for civil rights and wanting to make a difference, I'm able to do that in my professional job as well. And internally, in HR, you're also supporting the employees that are working with the communities, their jobs, and city government, there's police, there's fire, public works, transportation, they are all out to serve the community. So there's a way to impact the hearts and minds of the individual employees to make a difference. As then you have a strong force of people to help make things a better place. So I do feel as though... I feel very fortunate that I'm able to have a job where I really enjoy and I feel like I'm making a difference. And it is somewhat similar to the work of the JACL and what attracts me to the JACL's work as well.

AT: That's really cool

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2022 Seattle Chapter JACL. All Rights Reserved.