Emily Akpan, Redress & Reparations Working Group
Lisa Doi, Community Organizer
Lisa Doi’s family was held at Rohwer, Crystal City, Santa Anita, and Tanforan. She is the fourth generation in her family to make a home in Chicago. There she is the president of JACL Chicago and a member of the Midwest Buddhist Temple. With JACL Chicago, Lisa focuses on youth leadership and identity development and has facilitated several youth-focused pilgrimages to Manzanar, Rohwer, and Jerome. Lisa has also completed MA research on Japanese American residential patterns in Chicago. She is particularly interested in imagination and archives, to make space for Issei voices and stories of those who did not survive their confinement.
Mika Kennedy, Education Committee
Mika Kennedy is hapa gosei, the granddaughter of a Hawaiian-Filipino longshoreman and a Japanese dental hygienist from a family of farmers on Hawai’i’s Big Island. Her family was not incarcerated during World War II. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she earned her PhD from the University of Michigan for her work on literary and print culture narratives of Japanese American incarceration as they intersect with colonial mythologies of the Western frontier, environmental transformation, and Indigenous lands. She is a member of the Southern Alameda County Buddhist Church and gives thanks to her opportunities to be in community with the Nikkei Student Union at UC San Diego, the Nikkei Community Internship Program, the Kakehashi Project, and JACL’s Midwest District Council. Alongside Celeste Goedert, she co-curates the JACL Detroit Chapter’s grassroots exhibit of Japanese American community in metro Detroit, Exiled to Motown.
Emi Ito, Family and Kids Committee
Emi is a Japanese American Multiracial mother and elementary school teacher. She has been passionate about teaching Japanese American history to elementary age children for her 16 years of teaching in Bay Area public schools. She currently serves as the Committee Chair for Tsuru for Solidarity’s Families & Kids Committee. She is a Dharma Teacher at her Buddhist Church, has taught many years in a Japanese American summer program in the Bay Area, and has directed and run after school programs focused on the experiences of Multiracial and Transracially adopted youth. Last year she wrote a document titled, the Bill of Responsibilities for Multiracial People of Color With Light Skin & White Passing Privilege, which was inspired by the work of Dr. Maria PP Root. She is honored to work with a dynamic and dedicated group of individuals to make our collective work to fight injustice intergenerational and inclusive of our children.
Stan Nobuo Shikuma, Direct Action/Arts Action Committee
Stan is a Sansei activist, organizer, artist, and recently retired nurse living in Seattle, WA. His father’s family farmed strawberries in Watsonville, CA before WWII; his older brother was only 4-years old when the family was removed to a concentration camp near Poston, AZ. His mother’s family owned a dry cleaner and laundromat in Shelton, WA when they were sent to the concentration camp at Tule Lake, CA. Stan serves on the boards of the Tule Lake Committee, Seattle Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), and Regional Taiko Groups-Seattle (RTG-Seattle). He co-edits the Seattle Nisei Veterans Committee & NVC Foundation monthly newsletter; participated in the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) 2019 Delegation to Okinawa as a member of the Seattle Chapter; served as a Unit Rep in the Washington State Nurses Association (WSNA) before retirement in early 2019, has worked on the North American Taiko Conference for twenty years, and performs regularly with Seattle Kokon Taiko. Stan is organizing the taiko contingent for the National Pilgrimage to Close the Camps.
Alexis Takahashi, Police, Prisons, Detention Working Group
Alexis Takahashi is a hafu 2nd generation Japanese American based in Brooklyn and co-Chair of the Policing, Prisons, and Detention Work Group. She is also a co-founder of the activist collective Free Radicals, a transformative justice facilitator at Brownsville Community Justice Center, and an organizer with New York Day of Remembrance. Previously, she co-led the campaign to dismantle LAPD’s use of PredPol with Free Radicals and the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, and co-developed the Algorithmic Ecology, an abolitionist framework for dismantling carceral algorithms.
Nancy Ukai, Tsuru Committee
Nancy Ukai is a sansei whose family members were incarcerated at Tanforan and Topaz. She is project director of the website, “50 Objects/Stories of the American Japanese Incarceration,” a National Park Service JACS grant project. She helped lead a successful social media protest against the Rago auction of the Eaton collection of camp artifacts in 2015 and is researching their provenance as an advisor to the Japanese American National Museum. Her interest in the roots of issei culture deepened during 14 years of living in Japan. She is on the board and is a former co-president of the Berkeley JACL and formerly served on the board of the Nisei Student Relocation Commemorative Fund. Childhood memories inform her participation in Tsuru for Solidarity, including working in her father’s grocery in Oakland, California, which donated to the Black Panthers breakfast program, and accompanying her mother to Alcatraz with a group of Japanese American activists who took canned food and water to the Indian occupiers of the island in 1969.
Becca Asaki, Child & Family Detention Working Group
Becca Miyoko Asaki is a yonsei, mixed-heritage descendant of survivors of the Tule Lake, Heart Mountain, Jerome, and Rohwer WRA camps as well as the Department of Justice camp at Fort Missoula. Becca is the co-chair of the Tsuru for Solidarity Committee on Family and Children Detention and is on the steering committee for the NY Day or Remembrance Committee. Becca is the NYC Organizer for the National Asian Pacitic American Women’s Forum, an AAPI reproductive justice organization, where she brings years of experience in organizing with communities of color fighting for justice for tenants and home-based care workers.
Celeste Shimoura Goedert, Policy Advocacy Committee
Celeste Shimoura Goedert is a yonsei of mixed heritage and descendant of family incarcerated in Topaz. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 2017 with a degree in Social Theory & Practice. She is currently based in Southeast Michigan and spends her time between museum work at the Detroit Institute of Arts and, alongside Mika Kennedy, co-curating the JACL Detroit Chapter’s community history exhibit Exiled to Motown. Inspired by the legacy of Detroiter Grace Lee Boggs, Celeste is interested in understanding how women of color build spaces that help us to heal from cultural assimilation and racial capitalism while building solidarity amongst BIPOC communities.
Satsuki Ina, Healing Circles Committee
Writer, activist, and psychotherapist, Satsuki Ina, has spent her professional career seeking to understand the long-term impact of collective and historic trauma. She was born in the Tule Lake Segregation, a maximum security American concentration camp during WWII. She is Professor Emeritus at California State University, Sacramento. She currently provides consultation to organizations and communities addressing collective and intergenerational trauma. She is co-organizer of Tsuru for Solidarity, a grassroots coalition formed to protest current policies that echo and reverberate the racism and hate so resonant of the historical Japanese American incarceration. She has produced two documentary films, Children of the Camps and From A Silk Cocoon.
Leslie Ishii, Direct Action/Arts Action Committee
Leslie Ishii is a Los Angeles-based stage director, arts educator, writer, and actor. She is the Founder and Co-Director of the National Cultural Navigation Theatre Project researching and building solidarity for sustainability for artists of color and the theatres and communities they serve. Leslie is also on the board of directors of the Consortium of Asian American Theaters & Artists. She is Yonsei and a descendent of Minidoka Concentration Camp survivor, Marie Ishii, and forced removal survivor, George Ishii, of the Nishitani, Sakamoto, and Ishii families, respectively. Leslie debuted as an actor in Northwest Asian American Theater’s “Breaking The Silence,” which raised legal funds for WWII Evacuation Resister Gordon Hirabayashi’s Supreme Court Case. She has since performed on Broadway, with Penumbra Theatre Company, Theatre Mu, El Teatro Campesino, the American Conservatory Theater, Southcoast Rep, and directed at East West Players and numerous other theatres. Leslie has worked in tv/film and is currently the Interim Artistic Director of Perseverance Theatre. She has developed actor training and directing methods for artists of color based in liberation theory.
Linda Sachiko Morris, Child & Family Detention Working Group
Linda Sachiko Morris is a yonsei, mixed-heritage descendant of survivors of the Manzanar, Jerome, and Rohwer camps. Originally from the DC/Maryland region, Linda currently lives in New York City. Linda is an attorney and Skadden Fellow at the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, where she focuses on dismantling barriers to housing for women of color and survivors of gender-based violence. Previously, Linda worked for several years as an advocate for survivors of domestic and sexual violence in emergency shelters in Texas and Maryland, and at the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Grounded in her own family’s history of trauma and incarceration, Linda is deeply committed to building movements of liberation alongside marginalized communities, and is grateful to be a part of Tsuru For Solidarity.
Joy Shigaki, Fundraising & Finance Committee
Joy Shigaki is a Yonsei born and raised in Seattle now living in Oakland. Her family was imprisoned at Minidoka in Idaho during WWII. Early exposure to her family and community’s incarceration experience formed her deep commitment to social and racial justice, movement building, and reconciliation work and struggles on the local, national, and global levels. Throughout her career and community life, she has woven together a rich body of experience in community development and organizing, fundraising, capacity building, and civic engagement in the non-profit, government, and faith-based arenas.
Carl Takei, Police, Prisons, Detention Working Group
Carl Takei is a Yonsei descendant of prisoners held at Tule Lake and Amache, as well as the Department of Justice camp in Bismarck, North Dakota. He lives in New York City and is a senior staff attorney at the National ACLU, where he coordinates police practices litigation and related advocacy work. Previously, Carl conducted litigation and advocacy at the ACLU on prison privatization, immigration detention, and related issues. He is lead author of the 2016 ACLU report Shutting Down the Profiteers: Why and How the Department of Homeland Security Should Stop Using Private Prisons and the 2014 ACLU report Warehoused and Forgotten: Immigrants Trapped in Our Shadow Private Prison System, and a co-author of the 2016 ACLU/NIJC/DWN report Fatal Neglect: How ICE Ignores Deaths in Detention. Carl has testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, testified before a working group of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and briefed members of Congress regarding private prisons and immigration detention.
Duncan Ryuken Williams, Redress & Reparations Working Group
Duncan Ryuken Williams is Professor of Religion and East Asian Languages & Cultures at the University of Southern California and Director of the USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture. Previously, he held the Ito Distinguished Chair of Japanese Buddhism at UC Berkeley and served as the Director of Berkeley’s Center for Japanese Studies. He was also ordained as a Soto Zen Buddhist priest in 1993 at Kotakuji Temple (Nagano, Japan). Williams is the author of LA Times Bestseller American Sutra: A Story of Faith and Freedom in the Second World War (Harvard University Press) and The Other Side of Zen: A Social History of Sōtō Zen Buddhism in Tokugawa Japan (Princeton University Press) and editor of 7 books including Issei Buddhism in the Americas (U-Illinois Press), American Buddhism (Routledge/Curzon Press), Hapa Japan: History, Identity, and Representations of Mixed Race/Mixed Roots Japanese Peoples (Ito Center/Kaya Press), and Buddhism and Ecology (Harvard University Press).
Mika Chan, Education Committee
Mika Chan is a Japanese and Chinese American who grew up in San Francisco Nihonmachi. She is a paternal sansei, maternal yonsei descendant of family incarcerated in Topaz and Tanforan camps. She currently attends Seattle University where she is majoring in marketing with a minor in sociology. Throughout her college career, she has been able to increase her involvement with the Nikkei community through JACL’s Kakehashi Project, the Nikkei Community Internship Program, and as a Kase intern for the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California. She is chair of Tsuru’s education committee and part of Tsuru’s Next Generation Coalition. Her activism is rooted in her passion to help Nikkei find collective healing from wartime atrocities through solidarity with BIPOC by building relationships across race and borders.
Geri Handa, Tsuru Committee
Mike Ishii, Community Organizer
Michael Ishii is a yonsei living in NYC where he has split his time as a performing artist, organizer and clinician. Michael is the co-leader and co-founder of Tsuru for Solidarity and has been the co-chair of the New York Day of Remembrance Committee for 30 years. He is the chair of the New York Japanese American Oral History Project which received a 2018 JACS Grant, and he is a former president of the JACL, New York Chapter. Michael also serves as a volunteer for the Tule Lake Pilgrimage Committee and sits on the board for the Hudson Valley Park for Study and Reflection. He has written and performed spoken word and performance art pieces related to his family’s incarceration in the WRA camp, Minidoka, exploring themes of remembrance and healing from intergenerational trauma. He studied classical music at the Oberlin Conservatory and The Juilliard School, performing extensively as a french hornist with NYC orchestra and chamber ensembles for 20 years before moving to a career in East Asian medicine. Michael was the clinical chair for the University of Bridgeport Acupuncture Institute and now practices privately in NYC. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate studying Traditional Chinese Medicine with a focus on the ability of five phase nodal sounds to affect blood pressure in humans.
Lisa Nakamura, Healing Circles Committee
Lisa Nakamura, Psy.D., is a clinical psychologist who has a history of being active within the Japanese American community, helping organize Day of Remembrance events in San Jose,
California and serving on the Tule Lake Committee to organize pilgrimages. She also has a history of working with Asian and Pacific Islander youth involved in the juvenile justice system in San Francisco. She later provided therapy and collaborative, therapeutic assessments with youth and young adults in the foster care system and on Medical in Alameda and San Francisco counties. She currently serves on the Healing Circles Committee with Tsuru for Solidarity to provide opportunities to deepen solidarity between and within communities of color in advancing social justice.
Lauren Sumida, Communication Committee
Lauren Sumida is a social worker and artist originally from the DC area. She is a mixed-heritage, yonsei descendant of survivors of Rohwer and Tule Lake, as well as the Fort Missoula Department of Justice Camp. Currently she works as a community mental health advocate in New York City, where she strives to create safer, healing-centered spaces for young people experiencing poverty, racism, and other forms of trauma and oppression. Through her graduate social work research, she examined Japanese American collective trauma and reimagined her great-grandfather’s archival narrative through art. Her family’s multi-generational incarceration experiences drive her work in healing and community-building through arts and activism, and in centering directly-impacted communities through Tsuru for Solidarity’s work
JJ Ueunten, Community Building Committee
JJ Ueunten (they/them) is a queer yonsei Japanese and Okinawan, who was raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, before moving to the Chicago area almost 20 years ago. They have a massage practice called Blue Turtle Bodywork, and especially love getting to work with queer and trans people of color. They have done community building work in Asian and wider queer and trans people of color communities. In the past few years, they have gotten more involved with the Nikkei community, and currently work as the Community Engagement Coordinator at the Japanese American Service Committee, and are a member of JACL Chicago’s Next Generation Nikkei board.
Tsuya Yee, Communications Committee
Tsuya is a yonsei, mixed heritage Japanese and Chinese American from New York City. Her family was incarcerated in Manzanar and Jerome during World War II. She has served as co-chair for the New York Day of Remembrance Committee for the past 20 years. Tsuya’s grandfather, William Hohri, spearheaded the National Council on Japanese American Redress (NCJAR) class action lawsuit, which sued the U.S. government for $27 billion for injuries suffered as a result of the exclusion and imprisonment of Japanese Americans in WWII U.S. concentration camps. Tsuya works at the New School for Social Research and co-leads communications work for Tsuru For Solidarity.