Community in times of crisis and the coronavirus: Year in Review 2021

Our main goal is relationship building and creating a community where people feel welcome and we can grow and heal together. 

Some of the possibilities and challenges of community building are illustrated in our two coffee chat events that we held this year. 

Our first coffee chat brought Nikkei together over zoom to engage in small group intergenerational conversations about Nikkei identity. From what we heard in the report backs and in the feedback form, people found common ground, made connections across generations, gained new perspectives, and left with new things to reflect upon. It felt great to organize an event where that happened. 

In our second coffee chat of the year, we invited people to discuss the importance and challenges of cross-community solidarity. There was more conflict and tension in this coffee chat than the previous one. It had our committee take a step back and reflect upon how we create spaces where people have the support, and safety they need to engage in challenging conversations. We learned and decided what we would do differently moving forward.

Community building is both joyous and difficult work, and we are learning as we go, sometimes through mistakes. We are grateful for the lessons learned and hope next year will bring more joy and growth in our committee.

We would like to give special recognition to our affinity groups (Tsuru for Solidarity Next Gen, Mixed  Race JA & White Affinity Gatherings, Caregivers of Mixed-Race JA Youth Affinity Conversations, Scholars’ Council) and organizers who have worked hard to create spaces for parts of our community to come together and build a community of support. We have learned so much from each other throughout this year and we are excited to continue to work together in 2022!  

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