President Lorene Oikawa’s Message – November 2017

It seems like winter is approaching fast with grey days and rain, and Christmas items in the stores since September. I’m not ready for Christmas, but I have put the winter tires on my car. I know the Farmers’ Almanac is predicting a slightly warmer winter. However, it doesn’t mean we won’t get precipitation and snowfall. We have been experiencing extreme weather conditions with climate change. My mom would say, it’s better to be prepared and safe.

Also, if you are driving throughout the province of British Columbia from October 1 to March 31, drivers have to follow the winter tire and chain signs.
Besides preparing for winter road conditions, the GVJCCA is busy working on a few events.

Join us on Sunday, November 19, from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.at the Vancouver Public Library for the GVJCCA Legacy of Redress. This free public forum will be exploring the history of the Japanese Canadian internment 75 years ago, and the connection to the injustices faced by Indigenous peoples, and the Canadian Muslim community. We will hear directly from representatives from the three communities, and then participants will have the opportunity to discuss what is happening today, and how we can work together to preserve our rights and eliminate discrimination.

On Saturday, November 25, from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. we will be showing three films which share the history of Japanese Canadians and Japanese Americans. We will be hosting this free screening at Tonari Gumi. The films include the feature film, The Vancouver Asahi, and two short films, The Orange Story, and Discover the Stories of Japanese Canadians in Surrey.

The Vancouver Asahi is a period film, which abridges the story of the real-life Vancouver Asahi baseball team which played from 1914 to 1941, and shows how they faced racism and went on to win titles, and the respect of the broader community. This Ishii Yuya film won the People’s Choice Award at the 2014 Vancouver International Film Festival when it had its world premiere. Thanks to Grace Eiko Thomson who is providing the access to this film.

The GVJCCA is pleased to be showing another short film The Orange Story. It’s the story about the Japanese American experience 75 years ago from the perspective of a Japanese American store owner. The GVJCCA is able to screen the film as part of the 2017 Canadian Labour International Film Festival (CLiFF).
We are also launching a GVJCCA film, Discover the Stories of Japanese Canadians in Surrey, which provides highlights of an event we held in Surrey this year to share the history of the Japanese Canadian pioneers in Surrey.

Please join us for the free screening of these powerful films, and we will have popcorn too.

Our month is not done. We will be commemorating Remembrance Day on November 11 at the cenotaph in Stanley Park. This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the Issei volunteers at Vimy Ridge. We hope to see a good turnout of the Japanese Canadian and broader community to pay respect to those who served, and their families who sacrificed.

GVJCCA, along with other members of the Hastings Park 1942 Committee, will be at a meet and greet on November 16 with the cast and crew after the performance of Japanese Problem at the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre. The performance allows a glimpse of what life was like for the Japanese Canadian women and children who were held at Hastings Park in 1942, before being shipped to internment camps. The committee will be there to talk about our work to preserve and share the history and stories at Hastings Park. Also, we will be discussing the development of educational resources for teachers which is a project sponsored by the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC).

The work of the GVJCCA to represent the interests of the Japanese Canadian community, and to initiate and coordinate community-related activities and programs continues.

One of our recent activities is to re-establish the Anniversaries of Change network. The Anniversaries of Change is a group that came together in 2006, from community, labour, and academia to provide support, and work on issues of racism and discrimination. We organized and planned events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1907 anti-Asian riots in Vancouver, and also, the anniversaries of 1947, 1967, and 1997. Each of the years marked a watershed moment in Canada’s migrant history and connect us to the struggles today in our continued fight against discrimination. We are looking forward to building on those relationships, and working to create the welcoming, inclusive, thriving society we desire for all.

For more information, check for the Anniversaries of Change group on Facebook.