Presented by:
Stan Goto, Gail Kuromiya and Carole Teshima

Audience: Community, Educators, Human Rights / Social Justice Professionals, Young Adults (14+)        Workshop capacity: 20

Jan Ken Po Cultural Association (JKPCA) promotes awareness of Japanese American culture and history. Founded in Sacramento, CA, in 1996, JKPCA sponsors public presentations and educational events on topics such as WWII internment, Japanese crafts, and traditional foods. The current JKPCA president, a Bellingham resident, is looking for collaborative opportunities in Whatcom County. Participants in this session will be asked to consider how JKPCA might connect with other community groups to promote Pan-Asian solidarity and activism. 

Dr. King understood that extremism comes in more than one form. He advocated for extremism that creates a better world, as opposed to extremism that destroys society. This presentation will demonstrate how Jan Ken Po Cultural Association operates in the tradition of constructive extremism, encouraging peaceful activism that benefits our communities. Moreover, this presentation will seek opportunities for pan-Asian solidarity, in keeping with the conference’s theme of “an inescapable network of mutuality.”

In his Letter from Birmingham Jail, Dr. King identified a middle space between two opposing forces: one force characterized by complacency, and another characterized by reactive violence. The middle path, as he saw it, was a “more excellent way of love and nonviolent protest.” 

Today, we Asian Americans find ourselves at an ideological crossroads. Some of us have achieved a measure of success in America. For those so fortunate, it might be easy to slip into complacency, to rest on the sacrifices of our parents and grandparents. At the same time, we are witnessing an ugly resurgence of hatred toward Asian immigrants. Seeing our elders beaten by racist thugs enrages us. Some may be tempted to respond with violence. Here, we must remember Dr. King’s lesson: the need to pursue the middle path, which is characterized by action and love.

This presentation will demonstrate JKPCA operates in this middle space. The presenters will show how the promotion of cultural awareness is consistent with Dr. King’s notion of “self-purification,” a prerequisite for action against injustice. 

This will be an interactive presentation. The opening will include a brief overview of JKPCA’s context and objectives. Next, the presenters will conduct a mini-demonstration of a typical workshop. This will include a brief film excerpt. Finally, audience members will be invited to suggest ways that JKPCA might collaborate with other community groups to promote pan-Asian solidarity and activism. 

Stan Goto [He / Him / His] is an associate professor in the Adult and Higher Education Program at Western Washington University. He is also the president of the Jan Ken Po Cultural Association of Sacramento, CA.

Gail Kuromiya Bio coming soon!

Carole Teshima Bio coming soon!