President’s Message – February 2017

I’m feeling the urge to knit. No, it’s not because of the freakish cold weather we’ve been having. It’s the amazing photos of women (and men) in pink pussy hats from around the world and in Vancouver, too. Last month’s Women’s March was a fabulous visual of the power we have when we join together. People of all ages were speaking out and waving placards against sexism and racism, and all the –ism behaviours that seek to divide us. The behaviours are not new, but with current events such as the US election of a president who demonstrates these behaviours, and racist flyers being distributed in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, it can sometimes feel overwhelming.

It is also disturbing for Japanese Canadians who have experienced similar attacks targeting their ethnicity. 75 years ago, Canadians of Japanese ancestry were singled out. 22,000 children, women, and men, were forcibly removed from their homes, schools, and businesses, dispossessed, and incarcerated. It’s an important part of our Canadian history that must never be forgotten, and must be learned so that we do not repeat the historical injustices. It is even more important right now when we are facing forces that are agitating, and pitting worker against worker, and citizen against citizen.

The Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens’ Association is continuing its work to preserve the history of our community, and promoting the lessons for today. We are pleased to announce that we have received a grant from the City of Surrey to produce a public event on Saturday, May 20, 2017 to share the stories of Japanese Canadians in Surrey. We are recognizing the 75th anniversary of the forced uprooting, dispossession, and incarceration of Canadians of Japanese ancestry.

We are inviting you to share your stories, experiences, and family histories of Japanese Canadians in Surrey. Selected submissions will be published in The Bulletin and also on display in the week leading up to the May 20th event. This event will provide an opportunity for artists, poets, writers, musicians, and the community to come together to share and exemplify Japanese Canadian arts, culture, and heritage. Surrey Poet Laureate Renée Sarojini Saklikar will be helping us to host this event, and also present a mini session on using poetry to tell family stories.

The event will be documented to support life-long learning for the Japanese Canadian community, educators, and the public at large.

We will be looking at information in the City of Surrey archives and at the Nikkei National Museum. We will be hiring a researcher/writer who will access some of the information and help us to tell some of the stories of Japanese Canadians in Surrey. If you have the interest and the background in research and writing, and are available for this temporary assignment please check out our job posting in The Bulletin / Geppo and on our website, gvjcca.org

If you would like to submit a story and/or volunteer to help out at the May 20th event, please email gvjcca@gmail.com or phone 604.777.5222. More information will be posted on our website, and stay tuned for updates on other upcoming 75th anniversary events.

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Coming up this month is our 3rd annual GVJCCA Japanese Canadian Community Bowl-a-thon on Sunday, February 19 at Rev’s Burnaby Bowling Centre, 5502 Lougheed Highway. Check in at noon and enjoy the full food and bar service. Prizes awarded at 3 p.m.

The registration and pledge forms are on the gvjcca.org. Please register at check-in on Sunday, February 19. The funds we raise allow us to keep producing the high quality The Bulletin / Geppo magazine, and you can also collect pledges for the GVJCCA or one of the other Japanese Canadian community groups who are participating in the Community Bowl-a-thon.

Your Community Bowl-a-thon committee is busy organizing the event and collecting some fabulous prizes. We are looking forward to a fun afternoon for the whole family.

Thanks from your Community Bowl-a-thon committee and see you on February 19: Yuji Matson, June Nishi, Ken Nishi, Perry Nishihata, Lorene Oikawa, and April Shimizu.

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Advance notice that we will be again applying for a grant from the Canada Summer Jobs Program, and next month we will have three job postings for post-secondary students: Event Coordinator, Archival Assistant, and Communications Administrator. We will be starting the application process earlier this year in anticipation of receiving the grant, and to maximize the length of the summer positions. More information will be posted on our website gvjcca.org next month.

Women’s March & Pink Pussy Hats