Now Accepting 2024 Berkeley JACL Scholarship Applications! (Deadline 03/01/24)

Applications for the Berkeley Chapter Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) Scholarship Program are available for high school students entering their freshman year in any accredited institution of higher learning in the Fall 2024.

All 2024 applications must be filled out online (JACL.org) and submitted through National JACL.  National JACL will receive each application and forward the application back to the appropriate local JACL chapter for evaluation and awarding of a scholarship at the local chapter level.  To apply, please do the following:

Applicants must be planning to attend a college, university, community college, trade school, business school, or any other accredited institution of higher learning in the Fall 2024.  Students deferring enrollment will not qualify for the 2024 program.

DUE DATE – March 1, 2024

Applications must be submitted online to National JACL by Friday March 1, 2024.  Berkeley Chapter anticipates awarding multiple local chapter scholarships.  

 Scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic achievement, community involvement, school activities, work history, letter of recommendation, personal statement, Japanese cultural activities, and a group interview.   Special consideration will be given to applicants who are the first in their family to attend college and/or to those who qualify as low income.

 JACL MEMBERSHIP REQUIRED  

While JACL involvement is not required to apply for this scholarship, every applicant must be a Berkeley JACL member.  You can register to become a JACL member online. You can also contact the scholarship chair, Ron Tanaka for a membership application.  Please submit your completed application and $35.00 membership fee by January 31, 2024.  A limited number of memberships are available at no cost to the applicant if the $35.00 fee creates a hardship.

SCHOLARSHIP PRESENTATION 

All Berkeley Chapter scholarships will be awarded to recipients at a scholarship awards event scheduled for early May 2024.  All recipients are expected to attend this awards event (as guests of the Berkeley JACL) to receive their scholarship.

Statement in Support of a Ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and Condemning Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism

The Berkeley Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) is committed to upholding the human and civil rights of all people, strengthening community ties, and fostering coalitions with groups which align with these values. As such, the Berkeley JACL strongly condemns the violence and oppression the Israeli state has forced upon Palestinians, the violence Hamas has enacted upon Israeli civilians, and Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism happening here in the United States and around the world. Furthermore, we call on the release of all those who are being held hostage in Gaza by Hamas as well as those being unjustly incarcerated in Israel without a formal charge nor trial.

During these times of hate, violence, and injustice, it is crucial that all oppressed communities come together to support each other. As Japanese Americans, we have experienced first hand the deep wounds caused when the United States government and its people discriminated against the Japanese American community during World War II, due to the actions of a country many had no or little connection to. We continue to see throughout history to today, these same injustices and violent and discriminatory actions negatively impact so many people and so many communities.

Countless lives have been killed and even more impacted due to Israel’s military occupation of Palestine both for Palestinians and for Israelis. At the time of publication, over 25,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, including more than 10,000 children, and over 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed in Israel. Furthermore, the living conditions – water, electricity, food, health care – are devastating, putting many more lives at risk (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs).

We also would like to call attention to the alarming increase in hate crimes in the United States. Over the past few months, we have seen horrifying violence committed against those of Palestinian descent, such as the murder of Wadea al-Fayoume (6) in Illinois and the attempted murder of three students in Vermont. At the same time, we also want to warn against those who use the criticism of the Israeli state as an excuse to spread anti-Semitic messaging. It is critical that we remain vigilant and pushback on the use of stereotypes that have perpetuated violence against Jewish communities throughout history.

Therefore, it is with great urgency that the Berkeley JACL calls for a permanent ceasefire now and for the United States to end its support of the Israeli military occupation of Palestine. Furthermore, we must continue to support each other and be in solidarity to stop all hate, violence, discrimination, and injustices, including the current rise in Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism.

Now Accepting 2023 Berkeley JACL Scholarship Applications!

Applications for the Berkeley Chapter Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) Scholarship Program are available for high school students entering their freshman year in any accredited institution of higher learning in the Fall 2023.

All 2023 applications must be filled out online (JACL.org) and submitted through National JACL.  National JACL will receive each application and forward the application back to the appropriate local JACL chapter for evaluation and awarding of a scholarship at the local chapter level.  To apply, please do the following:

Applicants must be planning to attend a college, university, community college, trade school, business school, or any other accredited institution of higher learning in the Fall 2023.  Students deferring enrollment will not qualify for the 2023 program.

DUE DATE – March 6, 2023

Applications must be submitted online to National JACL by Monday, March 6, 2023Berkeley Chapter anticipates awarding multiple local chapter scholarships.  Each scholarship may be up to $3,000.

 Scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic achievement, community involvement, school activities, work history, letter of recommendation, personal statement, Japanese cultural activities, and a group interview.   Special consideration will be given to applicants who are the first in their family to attend college and/or to those who qualify as low income.

 JACL MEMBERSHIP REQUIRED  

While JACL involvement is not required to apply for this scholarship, every applicant must be a Berkeley JACL member.  Please contact the scholarship chair, Ron Tanaka for a membership application.  Please submit your completed application and $35.00 membership fee by January 31, 2023.  A limited number of memberships are available at no cost to the applicant if the $35.00 fee creates a hardship

SCHOLARSHIP PRESENTATION & NATIONAL JACL AWARDS PROGRAM

All Berkeley Chapter scholarships will be awarded to recipients at a scholarship awards event scheduled for early May 2023.  All recipients are expected to attend this awards event (as guests of the Berkeley JACL) to receive their scholarship.  Because of the pandemic, this event was held virtually via zoom in 2022.

By April 3, 2023, Berkeley will forward “outstanding” application(s) for further consideration to the JACL’s National Scholarship and Awards Program for 9 National Scholarships ranging in award amounts from $1,000 to $5,000 per scholarship.  Recipients of these national scholarships will be announced in the third quarter 2023.

Statement Condemning Anti-Semitism and Hate

We must fight all forms of oppression and fight for all human rights including the violence and oppression the Israeli state has forced upon Palestinians, including the hate and violence that Jewish people are experiencing here in the United States, and including the small but vocal faction of persons engaged in unacceptable threatening and violent behavior about the political situation in the Middle East. Such threats, harassment, and violence have no place in this or any country. They are an affront to our founding principles and should not be tolerated.

The Berkeley JACL supports the Anti-Defamation League’s ongoing efforts to identify and root out the scourge of anti-Semitism, and urges anyone who witnesses such an incident, either online or in person, to contact the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) at www.ADL.org. Since May 10, 2021, there has been a rise in anti-Semitic incidents reported to ADL by about 75% according to ADL’s preliminary research. This includes violence towards, physical assaults on, and unspeakable slurs shouted at or sent via email to synagogues and Jewish people.

During these times of hate and injustice, our communities need to come together to support each other. As Japanese Americans, we know first hand the deep injury caused when our fellow Americans cast judgment upon us for actions taken in other countries, in which we had no role, and over which we have no control. In recent years, such as post 9/11, we have seen the same injury experienced by the Muslim community. All of these communities have faced harassment, violence, and discrimination in the United States. This hate is misplaced and we must realize that people are not their government. We cannot generalize an entire ethnic, religious, racial or any type of group, based on a few people or based on the actions of a government.

That is one reason of many, why the Berkeley Chapter of the JACL, the nation’s oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization, strongly condemns the recent surge in anti-Semitic violence. This is why we must continue to stand together, support each other and stop all hate, violence and injustices.

Japanese American Citizens’ League
Berkeley Chapter

 

Statement Condemning Atlanta Shootings and Hate Crimes

The Berkeley chapter of the Japanese American Citizens’ League (JACL) grieves the loss of the people who were killed in the Atlanta shootings on March 16, 2021 and all those who have been impacted by the violence and hatred targeting Asian Americans and other marginalized communities. In 2020, there was a nearly 150% increase in hate speech and hate crimes against Asian Americans, fueled by false statements and anti-Asian sentiments expressed by the previous administration. We recognize that this hate and violence towards the Asian American and all marginalized communities is not new and it is important for us to continue to work together and speak up against the hate and violence.

We stand with the Asian American community and all marginalized communities in solidarity against these hateful crimes. We deeply appreciate our allies for reaching out and supporting the Asian American community during these troubling times. We all need to stand together, tell our stories of who we are, and support each other in healing from the hate and violent attacks we have experienced and witnessed over the past year. We continue to call upon our local and national elected officials to investigate these acts of hatred. We also call on the media to continue to illuminate and publicize the Asian American perspective and recent hate crime incidents.

Some ways you can help:

Statement Condemning Recent Hate Crimes

The Berkeley chapter of the Japanese American Citizens’ League (JACL), condemns the recent rise in Anti-Asian hate crimes throughout the country and in our nearby Oakland Chinatown, San Francisco, and San Leandro. We applaud the actions of Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley in the creation of a response unit focusing on the hate and violence targeting our Asian American communities. We stand with our fellow Asian American communities in solidarity against these hateful crimes and thank our allies for their support. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a significant increase in hate speech and hate crimes against Asian Americans, bolstered by comments made by the previous administration. We call on the media to bring attention to these horrific events and call on our elected leaders to implement solutions to address the increasing racism and attacks against Asian Americans in our community.

Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) is organizing 2 events to address the violence towards the Asian American community in Oakland and San Francisco. Our goals are to rally support for Asian and Pacific Islander communities, to demand immediate and long-term action to address the violence, and to emphasize solutions that empower all communities of color with resources, support, and education.

Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, we understand that these events may not be safe for everyone and if people do decide to go, understanding the risks, to wear masks and practice physical distancing from others. CAA is offering other virtual ways to participate in this weekend’s Day of Actions.

Click here to download the Statement

Statement on the Vandalization of Frank Ogawa Statue

The Berkeley chapter of the JACL protests the vandalism to the bust of former Oakland City Councilman Frank Ogawa by unknown persons, but stand — as we believe Frank Ogawa would have done — in solidarity with the rights of citizens who exercise their rights to protest injustice, with the movement for Black Lives, and against federal unmarked troops forcibly brought into our communities.

Frank Ogawa was the first Japanese American to serve on the Oakland City Council and experienced state racism when he was shipped to the Topaz concentration camp in Utah without due process during World War II. Berkeley JACL will always remember and honor Frank Ogawa’s great contributions to our community and will continue his work by supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and all efforts to end racism.

For more information, see Maina Chen’s article on NextShark about the incident.

Statement on Recent Events at Laney College

The Berkeley JACL stands with Phuc Bui Diem Nguyen in her complaint against Mr. Hubbard, who asked her to change her Vietnamese birth name because he said it was offensive “in my language.” Professor Hubbard’s actions in requesting Phuc Bui to “Anglicize” her name were unacceptable, insensitive, and racist.

Today the Berkeley JACL sent a Letter to Laney College President Gilkerson regarding Mr. Hubbard’s offensive request.

Every person should feel included and welcome in this beautifully diverse nation, and especially in a city as diverse as Oakland. Our diversity and different intersecting identities should be celebrated, not taunted or changed for the convenience of others.

We call on Laney College to enact sensitivity training for all staff and to take the appropriate disciplinary actions against Mr. Hubbard.

For more information, you can read ABC 7’s coverage about the incident here.

Statement from the Board: Black Lives Matter

The Berkeley chapter of the JACL, the nation’s oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization, is deeply disturbed by the most recent spate of killings and threats leveled at African Americans, most recently:

George Floyd, 46, Minneapolis, MN; Breonna Taylor, 26, Louisville KY; Ahmaud Arbery, 25, Brunswick GA.

More than any other minority group, African Americans continue to bear the burden of contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence. This is abhorrent to our founding principles of equal justice under the law, and it must end.

We re-affirm our solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and will continue to speak out against, and resist, the ongoing attacks on the humanity of our African American fellow citizens, no matter who the perpetrator may be. We re-affirm that African Americans are our family members. Our friends. Colleagues. Neighbors. Political leaders. Classmates. That we share the same fiber of one community, and an attack on one is an attack on us all.

We agree wholeheartedly with the Organization of Chinese Americans, who stated:

“The fact that Hmong American Officer Tou Thao stood to defend his colleague, and antagonized the bystanders who called for compassion, is not lost upon us. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders must stand up for Black communities by calling out institutional racism and the anti-Blackness within our own communities.”

We will not rest so long as people of color in this country are singled out to be denied their full humanity and citizenship.

Statement from the Board: Asian People Are Not a Disease

The Berkeley chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League, the nation’s oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization, urges rejection of the dangerous anti-Asian language surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, as seen in the describing of the disease as the “Chinese Virus” or the “Wuhan Virus” against the recommendations of the World Health Organization. This racist language has encouraged the harassment and beatings of Asian Americans, including school age children, in the past months. We are dismayed that the the presidency itself has been sullied by this kind of disgraceful ignorance.

We have seen this scapegoating before in times of crisis. In 1982, Chinese American Vincent Chin was beaten to death on the eve of his wedding day by laid-off auto workers in the Detroit area. These workers, believing Chin was Japanese, misguidedly blamed Japanese Americans for “taking over” the American auto industry and causing their unemployment.  https://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/23/opinion/why-vincent-chin-matters.html?referringSource=articleShare

 Needless to say, as Japanese Americans we have a special knowledge and a special duty surrounding scapegoating of ethnic groups, and it is critical that we align with all Asian Americans at this disturbing and threatening time.

As New York Times columnist Frank Bruni observed last week, the virus will “first bring out the quirks in our personalities, and then it will be a referendum on our character. We are now entering the character phase.”

Our chapter urges each of us to allow this crisis to bring out the best, not the worst, in each of us. Please resist and speak up against the scapegoating of Asian Americans for the current pandemic. It is utterly un-American.