April 2017 Issue
Councilmember Huizar and community members use the new crosswalk at Third Street and Omar Avenue
In March, LTSC joined other members of the Little Tokyo community in celebrating the installation of a new traffic signal and crosswalk at Third Street and Omar Avenue. The crosswalk will make it easier and safer for seniors living in Little Tokyo Towers to access the mid-block entrance of a nearby medical building.
Winning approval for the new crosswalk was no overnight success story. Little Tokyo residents and community advocates, like LTSC, have campaigned for the crosswalk for nearly two decades. Residents of Little Tokyo Towers were instrumental in the effort, circulating a petition that collected over 300 signatures.
Councilmember Huizar, who has shown great leadership on the issue, attended the opening event.
April 4, 2017 is the day of the special primary election to fill California’s 34th Congressional District seat, formerly held by Rep. Xavier Becerra. The district includes much of LA’s downtown, Koreatown and Eastside. Rep. Becerra resigned in January to become California’s attorney general. Please remember to cast your ballot.
Alex Tung, one of the subjects of “Mixed Match”
“Mixed Match,” a documentary by Jeff Chiba Stearns on mixed race blood cancer patients and their search for life saving bone marrow donors, will screen at the 33rd Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival on April 29. LTSC is proud to sponsor the award winning film, which explores multiracial identity and the role of race in medicine.
Click here to see the trailer.
The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival will be presented April 27 through May 4, 2017 at the Aratani Theatre at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center; Directors Guild of America; Downtown Independent; Tateuchi Democracy Forum at JANM; CGV Cinemas; and additional cinemas in the Los Angeles area. A key highlight leading up to annual Asian Pacific Heritage Month activities, the Festival is produced by Visual Communications, the nation’s premier Asian Pacific American media arts center, and enjoys broad support from cinema artists and audiences alike. Go to festival.vconline.org for showtimes and tickets.
LTSC knows that older Asian Americans, particularly those with low-incomes and limited English proficiency, can easily fall victim to financial scams. With support from Citi Community Development, LTSC will be educating seniors about how to avoid scams, providing assistance to victims of financial scams, and helping seniors plan financially for their golden years.
Citi Community Development leads Citi’s commitment to achieving financial inclusion and economic empowerment for underserved individuals, families and communities by working with nonprofit and public agencies across the country to expand access to financial products and services, build sustainable business solutions and forge innovative partnerships.
By providing multilingual workshops, one-on-one sessions with a financial coach and case management services for crisis situations, LTSC is helping seniors protect themselves against financial scams.
LTSC thanks Citi Community Development for its support of this important program.
Donor Mike Miyashima joined by Budokan team members (from left) Kimberly Kawasaki with son Sean, Adina Mori-Holt, Mike Murase and Scott Ito
For years, LTSC has worked to bring Budokan, a multi-purpose sports facility and community center, to Little Tokyo to help revitalize the historic neighborhood. Thanks to the generous contributions of numerous supporters, LTSC’s vision is firmly within reach.
LTSC plans to break ground on Budokan later this year. To reach our goal, though, we are counting on your donations during this critical stage of fundraising.
Also, Little Tokyo Vibes, MADE Ent. and Friends of LTSC will once again host Straight Outta Little Tokyo on June 3. Buying tickets for the ‘80s and ‘90s themed dance party fundraising event is a great way to assist our efforts and show your support for Budokan.
Intern Emily Isakari
Emily Isakari, an intern for LTSC through UCLA’s Asian American Studies Program, wrote about her participation in the Los Angeles and Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute Day of Remembrance programs. Read more in the Spring 2017 edition of Through the Seasons (p. 1).
The ACT LA: Alliance for Community Transit Los Angeles press conference to oppose Measure S
In recent months, LTSC has strongly advocated positions on two key ballot measures concerning affordable housing and homelessness. Our efforts included holding rallies at LTSC’s Casa Heiwa, phonebanking and other outreach. The two measures were on the ballot for the City of Los Angeles Primary Nominating Election in March.
LTSC was pleased to see the city vote down Measure S, a deceptive initiative that would have blocked construction of new affordable and homeless housing in LA, and in favor of Measure H, which raises the sales tax a quarter of a cent to fund essential services for homeless people in Los Angeles County.
“These were two crucial measures for thousands of Angelenos in need of affordable housing,” said LTSC Executive Director Dean Matsubayashi. “I believe LA voters made the right choices to support poor, working and middle class families struggling to get by in this incredibly challenging housing market.”
JANM’s “Moving Day” installation
The Japanese American National Museum (JANM), with funding from LTSC’s +LAB, launched an outdoor public art installation about the exclusion orders that made possible the incarceration of thousands people of Japanese descent during World War II. The projected image installation, entitled “Moving Day,” is part of JANM’s ongoing exhibition “Instructions to All Persons: Reflections on Executive Order 9066.”
LTSC’s creative community development strategy (+LAB) has provided support to Little Tokyo organizations to help them elevate their cultural and artistic work and draw attention to the fate of “First Street North.” First Street North is a piece of property, deemed by Little Tokyo stakeholders to be critical to the future of the historic neighborhood.
In addition to “Moving Day,” LTSC is helping to sponsor a multimedia event “Bronzeville, Little Tokyo” by Visual Communications (April 30), as part of the LA Asian Pacific Film Festival.
Other recent community projects supported by +LAB included the 2017 Los Angeles Day of Remembrance program and free Little Tokyo performances of the play “Residence Elsewhere” by East West Players last month.
Guests view the Takachizu exhibit
LTSC wrapped up events for Takachizu, a public workshop focused on identifying the cultural treasures of Little Tokyo, with two final programs. The first, entitled “Gut & Soul: A Shigin Singing and Poetry Workshop,” taught participants about a fascinating tradition of Japanese poetry recital. The final event was a closing party that provided the public one last chance to socialize and view the Takachizu exhibit.
Thank you to all the participants, collaborators and presenters who have made this special project possible over the past several months.
LTSC staffers and other community leaders join Councilmember José Huizar after the City Council vote
With strong leadership from Councilmember José Huizar and broad support from the Little Tokyo community, the City Council voted to demolish the former LAPD headquarters Parker Center and replace it with an office tower for City employees. The vote marked a step away from past racial injustices and toward a more connected and vibrant Civic Center. Plans for new construction on the site, not far from Little Tokyo, offer intriguing possibilities. They could include walkways to Little Tokyo, new commercial space and opportunities for public art and a museum.
Guests at LTSC’s South Bay open house
On April 14, LTSC will report on the needs of the Nikkei community in the South Bay area, followed by a panel and small group discussions. Panelists will include: UCLA Professor Tritia Toyota, Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Insitute Executive Director Alison Kochiyama, former Okinawa Kenjinkai President Shingi Kuniyoshi and Bridge USA Publisher Yoshihiro Ishii. The event will be conducted in both English and Japanese.
The South Bay is home to the largest concentration of Japanese Americans and Japanese immigrants in the mainland United States. LTSC has provided services to seniors, caregivers and families with young children in the South Bay for more than 20 years.
In order to further expand accessibility and outreach to the large and diverse Nikkei community in the South Bay, LTSC opened its South Bay Office in February 2016 and conducted a comprehensive needs assessment survey funded by grants from NeighborWorks® America and the UCLA Aratani Community Advancement Research Endowment (CARE).
Elderly tenants at Miyako Gardens Apartments received an unpleasant surprise last month, when the owner of the apartment building announced possible actions that could lead to steep rent increases. Miyako Gardens residents currently enjoy lower rent due to the owner’s participation in two U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development programs.
However, the owner is now considering whether to drop out of those programs. LTSC called a meeting to inform tenants of their rights and what they should do while waiting for the owner’s final decision. LTSC assured tenants they would continue to work to protect the tenants’ interests.
4/4 – Congressional District 34 Special Primary Election
4/8 – Iku Kiriyama Box Presentation
4/14 – South Bay Nikkei Needs Assessment Workshop
4/27-5/4 – LA Asian Pacific Film Festival
4/29 – Angelina Preschool Open House
4/29 – Screening of “Mixed Match” at the LA Asian Pacific Film Festival
5/6 – How to Raise Financially Aware Children
6/3 – Straight Outta Little Tokyo
6/10 – How to Choose an Emergency Alert System
Spring cleaning? Use a chemical-free glass cleaner:
Combine ¼ cup vinegar and 4 cups of water in a spray bottle. Your windows will shine!
Thank you to all our supporters for your contributions last month!
Ben and Toshiko Ebihara
Mark and Mabel Fujita Harman
Frank and Betty Hiji
Hoops for Friends
Lily Ann Inouye
Dawn and Alan Kita
Steve and Akemi Kayleng Knight
Sidney and Hiroko Kunitake
Laura Shiozaki Lee
Takashi and Jane Makinodan
Gary and June Masada
Dr. Jon and Stephanie Matsunaga
Robert and Teresa Matsushima
Richard and Masako Murakami
Erich Nakano and Sandra Viera
Jeri C. Okamoto
Glenn and Donna Sanada
Masako and Mary Sugiura
Frank and Mable Takenaka
Mike Tanaka and Jill Ishida
Edward and Karen Toguchi
Kaz and Cynthia Uemura
Mark and Vivien Usui
Edward and Momoyo Wada
Marsha and Gary Watanabe
Ken and Sandra Yamashiro
In Memory of Dr. Yoshio Akiyama
In Memory of Jeannette Kyoko Sanderson
Emily & Dan Weaver
In Memory of Chor Chai Tan
Marie Tan and Gregory Tan
Budokan of Los Angeles Donations
Mark and Tracey Doi
Itsuki Charles Igawa
Scott Ito and Nan Lee
Bill and Irene Koseki
Jenni Kuida & Tony Osumi
Mike Murase and June Hibino
Davis Park and Allison Yoh
Terasaki Nibei Foundation
Karen and Craig Tomita
Toyota Financial Services Making Life Easier Fund
Ruth & Bill Watanabe
Kimberly and Damon Wong
Dean and Keiko Mimura
Sakura Intermediate Care Facility
Marsha and Gary Watanabe