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

<Begin Segment 1>

KK: Welcome, everyone, to our legacy project recording for Joy Misako St. Germain. And I'm Kyle Kinoshita. I'm part of the legacy project and also a member of the JACL board and really glad to be a part of this project and to interview Joy today. In terms of background, the legacy project for the Seattle JACL has been created partly to record the 100-year history of our chapter, and the work we've done in civil rights and other areas that serve the community. But, in particular, what we wanted to do is to really preserve the legacy by interviewing some of the significant figures and our history in recent decades and capture some of the work as well as some of the thinking that went into leading and sustaining the JACL through the recent years. And so, Joy, we've introduced you as one of those significant historical figures, no pressure there at all. And so, therefore, we'd like to go ahead and conduct this interview so that some of your observations and some of your insights over the time will be preserved. And I'm gonna hand the mic over to Ana Tanaka, who will be conducting the interview. So, Ana.

AT: Thank you, Kyle. Well, so I am Ana Tanaka and I'm one of the interns for the Seattle JACL chapter working on the legacy grant project which I'm honored to be able to interview Joy today. And I'm studying American Ethnic Studies as well as Human Evolutionary Biology. Both kind of a mouthful, but they're both very people-based and activism is something that I'm very passionate about and so it's cool to be able to work with an organization that is focused on that. But anyway, to get to Joy, how about we start off just a little bit like talking about, kind of what you do, and just a little bit about yourself?

JSG: Thanks, Ana and Kyle. So I'm actually a Nisei, a pretty unusual background, perhaps, so second generation Japanese American, who was born in Chicago, to parents, Susumu and Eiko Nakanishi, who emigrated from Japan. My dad came to get his PhD in organic chemistry, and he's still with us. He's ninety-five and lives close by. I came to the Pacific Northwest because I wanted to live in a diverse community and in an area where Japanese Americans live. And because we... I actually grew up in Connecticut, and in Connecticut, there was no Asian families at all, I think there was one or two other families in the area. So, but because my parents are Japanese, I grew up with a very deep sense of love for the culture and identity connection with the Japanese American culture. So the reason I moved is I actually visited my brother in California and recognized that there was a whole community of Japanese Americans on the West Coast. So it took me a while to move, but I did move and that was one of the drivers of why I moved to the Pacific Northwest. For example, in the Seattle area, there's Japanese Bon Odori festivals, great food and cherry blossoms, just opportunities to connect with the culture. So I do speak Japanese, I wouldn't say really fluently, but enough where I could carry on a casual conversation and wanted to strengthen my skills.

So in Washington, I also began my professional career as a human resources director for the State Department of Ecology at the time, I moved in 1989 and then served ten years as the HR director for the City of Tacoma. And I'm currently the HR director for the City of Bellevue, so I have a professional long career in public service as well. And part of that does tie into why I engaged with the JACL is really wanting to make a difference, I think in public service. My interest was in public policy and recognizing that, in order to make a difference, some of that would really be through laws and influence with the systems of that nature. And then recognizing that the JACL has that kind of influence as well.

So other things about me, I do, I do love to perform in community theater from time to time, and I write poetry, especially haiku, I like to doodle. And I really have volunteered with JACL for a long time. And I can certainly talk a little bit about -- later about just how I got involved and served as the president of the Seattle chapter in 1992. So one other thought is I do remember, in Connecticut, I didn't really know that much about the Japanese American Citizens League, because the closest chapter to where I lived in Connecticut was the New York chapter. And that was still two and a half, three hours away, so I really had no exposure. But I remember I wrote to the Seattle president at the time, Gail Tanaka, from... I just wrote to her and said, "I'm moving to Washington state," and wanted to know more about the Seattle JACL. So I remember that she wrote back and said, "When you arrive, we welcome you. Come to our meeting." And so I do remember, that was one of the, I was very struck by just how welcoming the members of the chapter were. And that is how, it's just a little bit about my background and my connection to JACL.

AT: Yeah, thank you for that.

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

<Begin Segment 2>

AT: I mean, on the topic of JACL, I know, you just mentioned how you spoke to Gail and had an interest in it a little bit. But I guess once you moved to Seattle, did you just suddenly decide to go to that meeting and then just become fully engulfed in it? Or how did that process for you go?

JSG: That sounds exactly like what I did. [Laughs] Because I did -- I was working full time, but I went to my first meeting that was held in the evenings. And, at the time, it was held at the former Japanese language school, which is currently the Japanese Cultural Center. That location on Weller Street is where they'll be -- chapters met in the evening. So it's the current Japanese Cultural and Community Center. So I remember attending, and people were so welcoming. It was in just one of the boardrooms there, because it was the language school's facility. And I just recall talking with long, long time JACL leaders and they're... and not to name drop but one was, Kyle, your mom, Cherry Kinoshita, Ayako Heard, May Namba, Bob Santos, Sam Shoji, Mako Nakagawa, lots of Mako Nakagawa, Shea Aoki, Chuck Kato, Ken Kurata, a lot of leaders and some of whom are with us today. But what really struck me was the multi-generational group of active JACLers, and everyone was committed and engaged in the civil rights work of the JACL. So I was, I really did attend that first meeting, I was very welcomed. And then I attended the monthly board meetings, and then became pretty active.

So the way I came to be the president of the chapter -- and I will say that I lived in Steilacoom, which is south of Tacoma -- so I didn't live in Seattle. So it was a good hour commute, which isn't really a problem, but to... the way I came to be the president of the chapter was because the current president at the time, Tim Gojo, he stepped down because he was running for state legislative office. So the board and the executive board were really wanting and -- wanted to find someone to fill that spot. So when they asked me, I said, I could do that. But I was reluctant because I was still new to the area, and I didn't live in Seattle. They said that doesn't matter if you're committed and willing to do this.

So one of the things I did as the new president that took over from the current president, is I actually interviewed two long standing leaders of the JACL and one, again, is Cherry Kinoshita and then Bob Santos because I wanted to find out their perspectives about the history of the JACL, about the Seattle chapter, what they felt was important and what I might do as a president to really be effective. Because in those board meetings, sometimes there were disagreements about different topics and directions to go in. And, I think its healthy debate and dialogue, but I really wanted to be effective. So just some of the, what I remember from my conversation with those two leaders is just some of the historical context of what they shared with me that there was a large, aside from civil rights, which is key, that JACL also had a cultural and social aspect and objective to their purpose. So some of the things that I think Bob shared with me was, it was a way for younger people to get to know each other and not to stereotype Japanese Americans as really shy. But he said that that was one way where young folks could really gather and feel comfortable and get to know each other that way. So that was a very interesting perspective that was shared with me at that time. And then another thing that Cherry said that really stuck with me, too, is just looking again at the multi-generational members of the chapter, is the importance of having younger generations step in and help redefine the focus, if we're going to be sustainable as a JACL, to keep that civil rights focus alive and well. Because many active JACL members, at the time, were getting older, retiring, and just some concern about making sure that the chapter and the work would continue.

AT: Yeah, most definitely.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2022 Seattle Chapter JACL. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

AT: And you mentioned kind of like, just how the time -- the historical context of the JACL is so important. So I guess my question is, at the time that you were president, or that you were engaged with JACL, what was kind of the cultural or like the environment of just the time that you were leading, and maybe some obstacles that came up or, just the kind of the historical context around what you were doing during your time in JACL?

JSG: I think it was a different time, I'd have to go back and look at history in 1992. It wasn't as... like today, I think there's really huge challenges in race and social justice, that wasn't that type of environment at the time. One of the things that I focused on -- so it's a good question to reflect on what was happening around us. So it wasn't as explosive and serious, in a sense of crisis at the time. So what I remember focusing on is, is some, -- and maybe that's my strength as a HR person, but really focus on some of the administrative things to strengthen the organization itself. So, for example, we met at the, as I mentioned, at the -- what was the Japanese language school prior to it being the J, the Japanese Cultural and Community Center. And the board of directors, they were all, I think, they were all men, Japanese men, but they really were very kind and allowed the JACL mail to come in to their facility, and they allowed us to have a big room to put all our stuff in storage. So one of the things I did is I established a post office box, that's still the same post office box we have today, because I felt that we probably shouldn't... they were very open. They didn't say, "Go get your own mailbox." But I thought that would be important to do that. And then I suggested maybe we should look for our own place as a chapter to rent, knowing that it's expensive. And we did do that for a while. And I think, I can't recall if the Board of Directors was indicating their desire for us to do that as well. But I did focus on that. And there's other things that I recall that I helped with a team of folks sponsor a series of workshops on... so really to attract people to come to events that the JACL would sponsor, but they were things such as the retirement planning, so we had a volunteer retirement planning, and that there was a diversity equity inclusion class that Mako Nakagawa taught. So we put on a series of seminars, so that's another thing that I recall doing at that time. So I think that is a good question. I get the sense, as I mentioned, that I don't think the social environment was one where it was just urgent cry for activism in that regard.

AT: So I guess from that, how would you assess like the impact of what you did in your time with leading? And, I mean, you touched on it a lot with the different -- like the PO Box and the specific materialistic things. But yeah, I guess just what, for you, I guess, what do you consider is like some of your greatest accomplishments while you were president, or even with your time now?

JSG: Good question. Yeah, one of the things that really struck me, and still does today is when I was president, at the time, I attended the JACL National Convention in Denver, Colorado, and I was amazed by the larger organization of JACL, because there's seven different district councils in the United States with many chapters within that district. So we're part of the Pacific Northwest chapter in our district, and within the Pacific Northwest districts, we have Olympia, Portland, Puyallup Valley, Seattle, Spokane. So attending that was amazing. I just saw that there were... one thing that I am proud of is there's different resolutions that come from the different chapters within the council. And I was, I remember bringing up Seattle resolution to the convention that I helped initiate, and it was about waste reduction and recycling. Because all the paper that we used at the board meetings, and I mentioned, I worked from the Department of Ecology, but environmental protection is so important. So we had a resolution that Seattle -- first the chapter adopts it, and then you bring it in front of the full national convention, and you actually vote for the resolutions. So it passed at that, at that convention. So I remember that, and that was also the convention were Lillian Kimura from the New York chapter, she won the election as the president of the National JACL. So I remember, she really spearheading women leaders that were at the convention. And that was a, just a really wonderful experience to see the strength of the organization in the United States. Most of them -- there's lots in California, I think there was a Philadelphia chapter and then New York, but most of them are on the West Coast.

And I've also been involved with the... I was the chair of the events subcommittee, we had a national convention in Bellevue, actually, in July of 2012. So that was a great event, too, have just organizing different speakers to come. And it's a challenging event. It's huge, because all of the districts and chapter members are invited. And it's done in collaboration with the National JACL banquet team. And so I think there was just recognizing that it's a large organization, many committed people throughout the country, in that July annual banquet, I remember, because we were sponsoring it. So when different chapters take turns sponsoring it, it is a pretty big event and there's a lot of work to do. I remember that the Seattle board, at the time, really said there's a regular Minoru Yasui oratorical competition, and they said, "We really need someone from Seattle to participate in that because we're sponsoring this." So I have to say my son was a really good sport and he agreed to participate in this in this oratorical contest, what they do is, in recognition of Min Yasui's work, they give you a prompting question, and then you respond to it and pretty much presenting it in whatever way you want. There's judges, it's a pretty big, big event. So I do remember that as well.

But one of the, I think, perhaps if I think about my contribution, I think it's, maybe it's studying the organization making sure that the structure of the organization is strong and really keeping the enthusiasm and just keeping the connections happening, because it really is a volunteer-run organization and it's been in place for so many years. And that is because of the people that are willing to commit their time and effort to keep the energy going, to keep the focus, and to make sure that there's someone that can help organize and facilitate the work that needs to move forward.

One other thought, Ana, too and Kyle, I think about the annual banquets that JACL Seattle has had, it's one of my fondest memories. In recent times, it's changed where we don't -- I mean, aside from COVID, I think the direction of spending lots of money on the annual banquet -- it's also fundraising event. But I recall so many events that were just huge, wonderful events, where I would look forward to that every year, an annual banquet to see friends and often they were at different hotels in Seattle, where we invite dignitaries, like the governor, the mayor of Seattle. And it's just so much fun, because part of that is the planning piece, where I just have really fond memories of being on the banquet committee. And part of the fun is just... Ayako Heard, for example, one of the longtime members, would sponsor the planning committee at our house, and we would just bring food and eat and laugh and still get work done. But it was a wonderful way to build the sense of community within the JACL. So that everyone felt we were really a great team working on very important goals, and doing it together with just such enthusiasm and connection. So I really think just the friendships that I've made and my connections with JACL still continue to today as well.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2022 Seattle Chapter JACL. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

KK: I want to interject before you ask the next question, because there was something I was curious about going back to your time when you were president. 1992, of course, was four years after redress, the victory of redress was attained. And were there any issues about... 'cause prior to that time, of course, that was a really a big part of JACL's work. Post redress, were there any issues of JACL? Really, kind of looking at their identity in terms of its role? Just on the, both the national and local scene? Can you remember anything in that regard?

JSG: Yes, that's a great, a great question, Kyle. I do think that I remember some of it, it's not as though we said, hurray, we accomplished this, our work is done. So, but it really was, during that time where there was discussions about not wanting to ever have this history be lost. And some focus on curriculum, education with the schools, how can we make sure -- and similar to this legacy project, how can we preserve the history of what happened? Because still, many, many people then, and I would say even today, don't really know about the history of the Japanese Americans during World War II. They do not know about the incarceration, so many things and in this region, in particular. So there was... that's where some of the discussion was not only with what next. So having retreats with the board, and really trying to clarify the mission, or reinforce it, and then bring it to today to say or back then, '92, what are the issues that we want to address? And I think at that time, I remember that that's where they were some really -- not that it was ever exclusive only to Japanese Americans, but really recognizing that we want to be allies with other racial ethnic groups and expand our reach and also to make sure that we would continue to add value and be legitimate and sustain all the good work that we've done. So that is a good question. I do think that was the beginning of the discussion and also membership, wanting to increase membership not because of the money, but it's the same theme of what is our mission. Let's reinforce the direction we're going in that we still really are relevant. But like any organization, there's a need to refresh the mission and adjust accordingly so that it can be effective.

AT: Do you remember if you specifically, like during that time, did, I guess, ally with certain organizations or groups, if you remember or recall?

JSG: Yeah, I don't, I think it's probably more recent time with the Muslims after September [2001], so that's much, much later. So at the time, I don't recall specific groups that were -- we allied with, really strengthened, but I do recall the conversation and the concern about the future and clarifying. So there was some sense of, so we accomplished this big huge goal of redress, but clearly, our work is not done. There's still racism, and there's a lot of issues to will work on at the time.

AT: Yeah, definitely.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2022 Seattle Chapter JACL. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

AT: Let's see. So, I guess now, you are, I mean, you're still involved with JACL, after you're president in '92. And now you're the co-chair of this legacy project that we're working on now, kind of shifting it over to looking at the future, and what we're doing right now and that work. What is it, I guess, what does this project mean to you? And what do you think the importance of it all is now that we're working on this so many years later?

JSG: One of the things that strikes me is the importance of recording and keeping the history alive so that we can learn from it. And right now, similar to my story about the resolution on paper, so much paper, I feel as though if we don't record it in a way that's accessible and clear, it's very challenging to pull out my two boxes of JACL papers and sort through them, and figure out, how can we capture the stories of the leaders of JACL, the work that JACL has done? So it is absolutely critical, this project and the work to preserve the history so that we can learn from what we've done. And it's very, very important. And I don't think we've got that quite organized. And luckily, we have Densho and the partnership with them. But it is that type of repository of information, and history, oral histories that I think is critical to capture so that we can learn from that. It's really... right now I -- there's so much to do still, and so much to learn and I feel as though right now, my sense of the JACL Seattle chapter -- I'm not on the board, but I love to and I will continue to engage in projects like this, to support the work of the JACL. And there's, I think right now, there's still work that's actively being done by JACL.

So it's exciting because I think there's a whole influx of new, younger generations coming in. I think recently, Kyle, you helped facilitate the anti-Blackness series. And there's just so much to learn. And I feel as though it really is creating a new day for the JACL Seattle chapter, it is starting to shape with what some of that conversation was back in 1992 about concern, about relevancy, about sustainability. I feel like it's naturally happening. And perhaps that is a reflection of the times today. I really feel that there's, unfortunately, we're still facing, I would say the same or similar challenges. And then also, there is a sense of crisis I have with the issues around race and anti-hate or there's a lot of anti-Asian hate things that are happening today that are very concerning. So I'm just glad that the organization, I think is still strong and that there's strong interest in moving in a different direction that is really important to do. It's needing to flow and go with what is needed today, and a lot of it's dependent on the leaders that make up the JACL, of where they want to go. So I do think some of it's based on the leadership and their interests that there's, I think, if there wasn't that need today, then perhaps the role of JACL, or the mission would change a little bit more into the cultural side. And it's not that that's not there today. I think that it's a very challenging time right now.

AT: Yeah, definitely, unfortunately.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2022 Seattle Chapter JACL. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

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.

<Begin Segment 7>

AT: I think focusing on legislative and systemic things is very important because a lot of times I think we think of activism as being, like, out there protesting and out there being heard. But I think one of the avenues is legislation. And so I think that's very cool that you're part of that process. Is there -- this is a very specific question, but with that -- are there any specific things that you can pinpoint, like legislatively, if that's a word, in that level that you've worked on or that has had an impact in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion?

JSG: I think... so I have a couple of examples. One is the -- it's perhaps not specific to race or ethnic pieces, but in the hiring process, when you have a... in the application, there's been in the past, in different organizations, where you check the box if you've had some past incarceration, run-in with the law, and it's removing the box on an application, because there's other ways so that you're really opening up the opportunity, and not putting an automatic barrier to people that may have had been incarcerated and had something in their record. Because I think you can still do background checks and reference checks and other things, but that is a barrier that won't even get you in the door. So able to remove that in different organizations is one example of a system change that makes a difference. And I think there's other things like right now, Juneteenth was the history of the Emancipation for slavery was abolished, but that it took years for that to reach the news and people in Texas. And so there's a whole history of June 19th. So that has become a federal paid holiday, a state paid holiday. And at the local government level, local governments make a decision on whether they want to also adopt that. So right now, at the city of Bellevue, that's an example of being able to work on that, to work with the city manager and bring that to the city council to adopt that for the city employees. And that's very significant. It's not... I mean, I'm sure some people say yay, another paid holiday, but it's really the significance of the event. And it's things like that, that are part of the system and the structure where it is... it does take the same energy and tenacity and focus to say, how can I actually make a difference in the structures, the systems, the laws that will live for a long time to come? So there's many different opportunities like that. And, within an organization, it's, there's many things to do and how one does that is really important, because I know, as I mentioned, I don't feel as comfortable. I mean, the manner in which I'd like to make a difference is strategic. It's through diplomacy, it's through education, it's really trying to make changes in a manner where I need to be persuasive and figure out the best mechanism to do that. So I think that will be ongoing within the organization. And then that's an example of the same manner and approach that can be taken within the community and actually bigger than that with the whole world. So I think that's what I continue to learn and always want to figure out how I can make significant changes of that nature that would make a difference. And it does take time, you have to weigh what the different options are for policy changes and who it impacts and then it's the convincing of the powers that be, how can you make the case that it really is beneficial for everybody?

AT: Yeah, thank you for sharing that. I think that's really cool that you're, again, part of that process because I think that's really powerful, especially like the checking the box for whether you've been incarcerated for the job application. Because, I mean, since that disproportionately affects certain people, I think that that's very important. Because, yeah, you've already covered that, but I think that is very cool.

JSG: Thank you. They call it "ban the box" so that, I mean, I think there's a lot of system issues when you think about systemic racism and things that are not conscious. So implicitly, implicit bias are things that are just historically ingrained in the system. So it's very challenging. But if I can make a difference in my field of work on other, like in human resources, there's another system that was instituted with what they call as blind screening. So with the applicants, you don't see their name, you see all their information. So the hiring manager, is again, not facing, not having bias slip in, I mean, clearly, at some point, you need to see the applicants to interview them. But up front is systems like that, structures where you can say that we were not saying like, if you saw my middle name you'd go, oh, that sounds like a Japanese name. So it's really doing the blind screening and then basing it on the qualifications and trying to find ways, are they, are there barriers that one can remove, and then to assist through system change. So I just thought of that other example, and that is in place as well. So real, concrete things. And then when you do something like that, to explain why you're doing it, because people don't understand. If you don't explain, this is the theory behind it. And there's actually studies that have been done. Where if you have... and again, it might be implicit bias where someone might have a bias against women, men, a certain ethnic background, and if they see the name and information, then they might inadvertently disqualify them. So it's another change, and then how do you explain that so that people really understand and embrace that kind of change? And understand, because it is sometimes not clear, like, why are you doing that? [Laughs]

AT: Yeah, I think that's really cool. So these are all in -- this is like being enacted in Bellevue, is that right?

JSG: Bellevue does have that and other organizations as well.

AT: Oh, okay.

JSG: Just giving a human resource example. But those are, I think, really concrete examples of structural changes that can be made and really trying to figure out what is the potential barrier? And then how can we eliminate it or reduce that in a way through the system itself? Rather than try to rely on every individual to? I mean, I think it's hard to figure out how do you address if the concern is implicit bias with candidates based on their name that indicates a race where they might have a bias, how can you do that from a system perspective so it eliminates it for everyone and helps with the structure itself? So there's many, many things to do like that, and it is a process and even to identify what that is takes some time and connecting with other colleagues in the field and that type of work.

AT: I like that outlook of, are there any barriers that we can remove. Because I feel like a lot of the times with that process of hiring people, there's an attitude of what kind of barriers can we impose? Because, I mean, you're trying to screen out people. And so I like the -- your perspective that you're coming from, because that kind of goes against that conventional process of hiring, which is, definitely has its own systemic issues, of course. But yeah, cool.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2022 Seattle Chapter JACL. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

AT: I don't have any further concrete questions, but are there -- is there anything else that you wanted to mention or describe that we haven't quite covered yet?

JSG: I would just reflect on the Japanese American Citizens League, I really feel as though it's a very effective organization. And some of that is really because of the manner in which the coalition -- if we call the JACL a coalition -- but it's the relationship building and the connections that one makes. So in the friendships and just that is very rewarding, too, so I suppose it -- my whole experience with JACL from 1989 when I moved to this area is just the commitment and the people that are really active with JACL is just that the bonding of the team, we say we're a whole team, it's very meaningful to me. And so that's part of the rewarding feeling of definitely from the day one feeling included, even though I wasn't from the area, just embraced, included, and then all working together. And as volunteers to step up and say, yes, I will do this, I will do that. And the bond that you build is part of the reason why it's effective, just the relationships and, and feeling like you can make a difference in this manner. So I just, I really think I'll also support the JACL, just like some of the people I first met were in their nineties are still going to the board meetings and still volunteering. So I hope that I will be able to do that also into my nineties. [Laughs]

AT: Yeah, I think it's cool that the JACL is an intergenerational type of organization, because I don't... I feel like there aren't very many organizations that you can say that about. And I know that the younger generation, I guess that would include me, my generation, is... it feels like another kind of wave of activism, I guess, maybe specific to JACL, but what are your thoughts on the new, or the current Japanese American activism, maybe even in JACL, or not in JACL?

JSG: I actually really am enthusiastic and feel really good about the work of the JACL and the younger generation that's active, like the, just like the work recently with a Northwest Detention Center, looking at people that are detained. And so it's similar to the Japanese Americans in that way. And so there's a lot of allies and more support for other groups that the JACL is involved with today, which I think is really commendable and very, very important. So I think I always feel like I have a lot to learn. And it's nice to be in a group that is multi-generational, where it's not -- I never feel as though I'm not welcome. But for me, it really is a different type of learning, and I appreciate just the energy and the renewed focus. And so there's things that I feel like, okay, now I feel like I'm older. [Laughs] Nothing's wrong with that, but I feel like, okay, I have a different perspective and there's a lot to learn. So I hope that that welcoming feeling and just the teaching of all members, so the older generation, and the younger, because there's a lot of value to just learning from history, but then looking at today, and I think that is the future of JACL, which is what I had mentioned early on, is some concerns about our elder JACL, or is it still going to be relevant? What is the focus? And I feel like that is really strong today with this JACL chapter and I think nationally, from what I can see, too, so that's very heartwarming for me. I feel as though if we all continue to grow and learn and move in that direction, then we'll continue to make a big difference in the world. So it's really important.

AT: Yeah, I definitely think it's cool that the older generation is there maybe to guide the younger generation as well and the generation -- younger generation gets to learn from the older generation. So yeah, I really respect JACL in that way, especially when you said that they're so welcoming and just encouraging with everything that we're trying to do. But yeah. Well, do you have any, I guess, final thoughts, Kyle or Joy?

KK: Well, I want to express my gratitude to Joy because I think that her -- a couple of things. I think, one, you were a living connection to some of the JACLers who helped to make history. I'm, of course, speaking about folks like my mom and Bob Santos. By the way, Bob Santos lived across the street from us, so it was actually nice to hear his name. But I think in addition, this was great because it really is an illustration of what you brought to leadership. Some of the things that you brought to leadership are the things that I think are helping JACL sustain itself today. So I'm glad that we did create a historical record for that.

JSG: Thank you so much, Ana and Kyle. Thanks so much for the opportunity to be interviewed and reflect on my experiences with the JACL. So, brought back some nice memories and just reinforcing the importance of the organization to me.

KK: Great, thanks very much.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2022 Seattle Chapter JACL. All Rights Reserved.