Community Events


Newport Beach Film Festival 1

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May 31st LGBTQ FLIER for website

The JACL Pacific Southwest District and the Church & Society Committee of the Centenary United Methodist Church invite you to an engaging Nikkei LGBTQ panel event to be held on Saturday, May 31st, from 1 to 3 p.m at the Centenary United Methodist Church of Los Angeles, 300 S Central Ave. in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles!

People of ALL generations and backgrounds are invited to learn more about gender, sexuality and LGBTQ (lesbian-gay-bisexual-trangender-queer) stories in the Nikkei/Japanese American community. The panel of amazing community members will speak to their individual experiences of navigating LGBTQ issues in the Nikkei community and in their areas of profession, as well as their hopes for LGBTQ inclusion and awareness in the future. 

The dynamic panelists are:

MIA FRANCES YAMAMOTO is a radical feminist Asian American transgender woman lawyer who has been practicing criminal defense in and around Los Angeles since 1974, first as a deputy public defender, then in private practice. She is a Vietnam veteran and graduate of UCLA Law School, who has been involved in many professional, political and community organizations over the years, while representing, and advocating for, oppressed, marginalized and unpopular people.

BISHOP ROY I. SANO served in a variety of pastoral settings throughout his nearly 50 years as a United Methodist minister. From 1951-69, he pastored congregations located in various communities such as Oxnard, CA, Loomis, CA, and Los Angeles. He was a professor at Mills College from 1969-75, and the Pacific School of Religion from 1975-84. He was elected a Bishop in The United Methodist Church in 1984, serving in the Denver (1984-1992), and Los Angeles Episcopal areas (1992-2000). In retirement, he continues an active ministry as a noted speaker and writer.

ERIC ARIMOTO, a fourth-generation Japanese American gay man and a Pasadena-based marriage and family therapist intern whose clinical focus is working with LGBT persons — adults, youth, couples and groups — with special attention paid to multicultural perspectives, coming-out issues, self-esteem, relationships, existential issues, sexuality and addiction issues. He is interested in sharing his perspective that being gay and a Japanese son, brother, nephew, cousin, grandson, friend and community member are not mutually exclusive.

riKu MATSUDA, a senior intergroup relations specialist at the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations who has worked in areas of youth organizing, leadership development, gender justice and sexual rights, media justice, immigrant/refugee rights and multi-ethnic community-building. For the past 10 years, Matsuda has programmed public radio at Pacifica’s 90.7 FM KPFK Los Angeles. He spends his spare time organizing for social justice and co-parenting Gingko and Sabji, two amazing pitbulls.

Last but definitely not least, EILEEN MA, the Executive Director of API Equality Los Angeles, will moderate the panel!

The organizers of the event hope that attendees will learn something new and be moved from the engaging stories of the panelists. 

This event is COMPLETELY FREE AND OPEN TO EVERYONE with refreshments provided during the reception!

Donations are welcomed and will be supporting various organizations. Please email Program Coordinator, traci ishigo at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions.

Meet & Greet Our New Regional Director, 

Stephanie Nitahara 

Stephanie Nitahara, a Chicago transplant, has joined the team of Pacific Southwest District and we are so excited to have her as our new Regional Director. Here is a message from Stephanie to you! 

"Hello PSW!  I've been working in the Regional Office for a couple weeks now, have attended a few meetings, met some of the Little Tokyo community, and even some JACLers!  It's been a really exciting time getting to know so many new people, working in such a dense Japanese American population, and having SO MUCH JAPANESE FOOD!  This is such a novel experience coming from the Midwest where the JA population is significantly more widespread geographically.  I'm looking forward to fostering new relationships within the many layers of the great APIA community here in Southern California.  

Thank you for the support so many of you have shown me already, and I'm excited to meeting the rest soon!" - Stephanie Nitahara

Junichi Suzuki's Japanese American World War II Documentaries: MIS - Human Secret WeaponDuring World War II, the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) was secretly formed by the U.S. Army, and was mostly comprised of "Nisei" men. Braving the many prejudices against them, "Nisei" soldiers of MIS had to fight against Japan, their parents’ homeland, and proved their patriotism to the country that had placed their families in internment camps.

Join us for the Los Angeles Regional Congressional Gold Medal Celebration on Saturday, June 9, 2012 from 9 – 11 am.

We especially encourage veterans, widows, and KIA next of kin who were not able to travel to Washington, DC or other ceremonies around the country to attend this community celebration. 

In 1982, Vincent Chin was the victim of a hate crime murder in Detroit. Thirty years later, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders continue to face discrimination and bullying. In light of recent tragedies like the suicide of Pvt. Danny Chen and the continuing effects of 9/11, what can Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders do to stand up against racism and discrimination?

Please join us for a nationwide event, Vincent Chin 30: Standing up Then and Now