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NVCF President's Column

by David Fukuhara
June 2020, Volume 70, Issue 6

It is said that in life, change is inevitable. However, the past six months have brought such dramatic change that now we are constantly faced with uncertainty and transformation.  How will our organizations respond to these challenges?

We are still in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic.  This has brought huge loss of life and health, and an economic downturn the likes of which we have never experienced.  This pandemic has altered every facet of our lives, under the mountains of government proclamations and social distancing guidelines.

This pandemic has required the NVC and NVC Foundation Board meetings to be conducted on a virtual computer basis.  With 6 Officers and 12 Board members, it has been technically challenging, but our members are getting better at organizing these meetings every month.  In the near future, we hope to conduct our general membership meetings via computer too.

Recently, young people have rallied to create a social tidal wave of protests against the racism that has been manifested in the brutality against persons in the Black Community.  For too long, this racism and the disparities it has created, have been hopelessly prevalent.  Yet today people from all races and communities are joining together to protest for equity and change across our nation. 

This is a movement being led by young people, while folks from all generations are getting involved and reaffirming their commitment.  Within the NVC and Foundation, Yonsei member Danielle Higa has spearheaded our effort to produce a joint statement of support with the Black Community in denouncing racism and brutality.  With support from Walt Tanimoto, Mike Yaguchi, and Dale Watanabe, our meaningful statement was developed and is included in this June newsletter.

Brianna Ishihara, a Yonsei educator, has agreed to the challenge of developing a new scholarship program for the NVC Foundation.  We would like to thank the current scholarship committee members Debbie Kashino, Kris Kashino Hiraoka, Carmen Tsuboi, May Sasaki, Wendy Coombs, and Diane Yoshihara for their dedication.  In their communication with Foundation Board Member Steve Shinoda, the committee members have decided to phase out the Shiro Kashino name from our scholarship program and retire from the committee after years of service to the many students they’ve helped in our Community.

Geri Lynne Egeler and Danielle will lead the next two Foundation Board meetings.  Geri Lynne provided significant leadership in supporting the AG investigation and is also managing the NVC Hall Foundation Museum.

Has everyone seen the Memorial Day video produced by Lea Hidaka, a high school student at Mercer Island High School? With support from Walt Tanimoto and Bob Kiga, it was very well done and made us all proud to watch it.

So, within our NVC/F organizations, a youth movement is also occurring that is re-shaping our organizations for the future.  Among our Board members, there are professional skills and specialized knowledge that we have not even started to utilize.  There are leaders who know how to get things done.

When I look toward the future of the NVC&F, it looks bright and optimistic.  As our older “Sansei” generation members become less active, our young people are stepping in with skills and creativity, while maintaining commitment to our core organizational values.  It is refreshing that they come with new energy and ideas, without the baggage or personal issues that have polarized our organizations in the past. 

For the sake of our youth and our future, now is the time for us to change, transition and come together.