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Annual Meeting - April 9, 2016       

         On April 9, 2016, Cal alumni, students and friends gathered in Oakland for the 26th annual luncheon meeting of the Japanese American Women Alumnae of UC Berkeley at Yoshi's Oakland in Jack London Square. The meeting honored scholarship awardees and the outstanding alumna and featured a timely keynote speaker.

Keynote Speaker Mariko Yamada

         The keynote speaker, Mariko Yamada, served as state assemblymember from 2008 to 2014, representing Yolo and Solano counties. She is currently a candidate for the state Senate in District 3. The former social worker's speech, "Journey to Justice," conveyed her commitment to pursuing social, educational, economic and environmental justice. Yamada spoke of her family's experiences during World War II in a concentration camp, and of her father's long struggle to make a living afterward. Accompanying her father as he tended to the gardens in Denver's wealthiest communities, Yamada saw inequities at an early age. She said she learned a great deal about civil rights and community problems while growing up. Yamada said although she is in politics, "I will always be a social worker." Her work is in alignment with social work principles and practices, and she continues to fight for the underdogs.

Alumna of the Year Kiku Funabiki

         Kiku Hori Funabiki was honored as the Outstanding Alumna of the Year for her activism and writing. Ms. Funabiki worked actively in the Japanese American Redress Movement and testified before the Senate Juciciary Committee in Washington, D.C. during the hearings for redress, parts of which were read by Betty Kano. Her writing has appeared in several collections of stories written by Japanese Americans, covering such topics as the Japanese American wartime incarceration and post war experiences. She has urged everyone, especially seniors, to become and keep active.

JAWAUCB Scholarship awardees (left to right)
Yuriko Kishi, Kristen Shimoda,Ai Nakazawa

The recipients of the 2016 JAWAUCB scholarships are:

  • Yuriko Kishi -  College of Letters and Science, Genetics
  • Ai Nakazawa - College of Letters and Science, Psychology
  • Maryann Saito -  College of Letters and Science, Art
  • Kristen Shimoda -  College of Letters and Science, Chemical Biology
  • Melanie Sakurada -  College of Chemistry, undeclared
  • Yukie Toyama -  Graduate School of Education
  • Hikari Miyazaki - College of Engineering, Dept. of Bioengineering

      Each recipient spoke briefly about her studies and future plans. Ai has been a previous recipient.

        Guests included:  U.C. Berkeley Nikkei Student Union President, John Okahata, and Martin Snapp, author of Cal Magazine's recent article about JAWA (Spring 2016 issue)..  

Cal Alumni Association Executive Director, Cloey Hewlett, attended the luncheon and shared the story of her connection to the Japanese American community. Her mother, Helen Jones, was active in CANE, Committee Against Nihonmachi Evictions, a grassroots activist group which emerged in 1973.

         The annual business meeting preceded the luncheon.  Following board member reports, the officers for the ensuing year were elected.

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