LTSCene – June 2021 - Little Tokyo Service Center

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LTSCene Monthly Newsletter

June 2021 Issue

title text: creating an equitable future for all

Equity and inclusivity are at the core of LTSC’s mission. This month, we share stories that highlight our equity-building work and uplift marginalized voices.

title text: creating acceptance within the community
Okaeri Aims to Build a More Accepting Nikkei Community

group photo of okaeri membersIn celebration of Pride Month, we sat down with Okaeri, a Nikkei LGBTQ+ organization fiscally sponsored by LTSC.  Okaeri hopes to transform the Nikkei community to be more compassionate and educated, so all LGBTQ+ Nikkei and their families feel safe, loved and connected.

What is Okaeri’s mission, and what makes it unique from other LGBTQ+ organizations?

Okaeri’s mission is to create visibility, compassionate spaces, and transformation for LGBTQ+ Nikkei and their families by sharing our stories and providing culturally-rooted support, education, community-building, and advocacy.  We’re different from other LGBTQ+ organizations in that we focus specifically on Japanese American and Japanese-speaking communities.

Why is it important to have an LGBTQ+ organization in the Nikkei/AAPI community?

Many of us who identify as LGBTQ+ and Japanese American have often felt shamed, excluded or rejected by the Nikkei community. We sense that we have to hide our sexual orientation and gender identities to be accepted. At the same time, many of us have experienced racism in LGBTQ+ spaces. Okaeri provides LGBTQ+ Japanese Americans a community in which we can be our whole selves and not leave our ethnic identity or our LGBTQ+ identity at the door.  For many of us, Okaeri is the first space in which we’ve felt that we could reconcile our queer and Nikkei identities and be seen and valued for all of who we are.

What are some of Okaeri’s goals? What changes do you hope to make in the community?

Our overarching goal is to create a safe, loving, and accepting world for LGBTQ+ Nikkei and their families where all identities are celebrated, respected, and embraced.  To achieve that goal, we have partnered with Japanese American cultural organizations, Buddhist temples, and Christian churches on educational programs to help make the broader Nikkei community more accepting.  We also organize ongoing English-language and Japanese-language discussion groups for LGBTQ+-identified Nikkei, family members and allies so that we can support each other and frankly discuss common challenges and celebrate our Nikkei and queer identities. Okaeri in Japanese means “welcome home.” So in the end, we want to transform our Nikkei community to be more compassionate and educated, so all LGBTQ+ Nikkei and their families feel safe, loved and connected to our community.

What can people do to support Okaeri and the LGBTQ+ community?

Participate in Okaeri’s ongoing programs and attend our virtual conference that will take place Nov. 12-14.  Visit and our social media (Instagram and Facebook) to learn about our programs. Sign up for our newsletter, so you’ll know about upcoming events.   In addition, folks who don’t identify as LGBTQ+ can be supportive by having honest conversations with their LGBTQ+ family members, friends, co-workers, and neighbors about the challenges they face and the kind of support they’d appreciate. Finally, some people are not able or ready to attend events or feel comfortable talking about LGBTQ+ issues, but still want to be supportive.  Donations of any amount are always welcome to support the programs and work we do.  

title text: new threat to affordable housing
Judge Carter’s Injunction Poses Threat to Funding for Permanent and Supportive Housing Efforts

two sets of hands holding cutout of a blue houseAs a member of the Southern California Association of Nonprofit Housing (SCANPH), LTSC and members of SCANPH issued an amicus brief regarding Judge Carter’s injunction. The injunction redirects funds for permanent supportive housing towards temporary shelters.  Though we agree that homelessness is a humanitarian crisis and that there is an urgent need for housing in Los Angeles, Judge Carter’s injunction will divert public funding away from creating new supportive and affordable housing for unhoused and low income residents.  By emphasizing temporary shelter instead of building permanent supportive housing, the injunction will not end homelessness in Los Angeles, and is only making things worse by impeding the progress on building permanent supportive housing. 

Please help LTSC and SCANPH spread the word about the amicus brief, by posting about it on your social media.  Please see below for a sample post:

“The injunction in Alliance v. LA will divert public funding away from creating new supportive and affordable housing for unhoused and low-income residents. The injunction will not end homelessness in Los Angeles. Read @SCANPH amicus brief filed in the case:

title text: ensuring an equitable future for all residents of DTLA
Central City United Coalition (CCU) Aims to Make Sure Community Needs are Met in Upcoming Community Plan

picture of DTLA with text, "Central City United People's Plan

As a member of the Central City United coalition (CCU), LTSC is working with neighborhood organizations representing Skid Row and Chinatown to uplift the voices of low-income, immigrant and unhoused residents who will be affected by the DTLA 2040 Community Plan.  Members of the CCU coalition have gathered input from residents, community stakeholders and experts to identify the priorities and needs of residents that must be met in order to ensure an equitable future for all of Little Tokyo, Skid Row and Chinatown’s residents. The coalition released the CCU People’s Plan to provide the Los Angeles Department of City Planning with community input and recommendations as they put together the DTLA 2040 Community Plan. 


Sign on to Support the People’s Plan.

Click to read the CCU People’s Plan.

Click to read Manuel Pastor and Sissy Trinh’s piece, “Planning for Equity: Putting the Community in the Downtown Community Plan”    

Tickets Now Available for LTSC’s ‘Sake on the Couch’ Fundraiser

Sake on the Couch ad

Enter our custom-built virtual world where you can explore a digital Little Tokyo, get a sneak peek into Terasaki Budokan or have a moment of Zen in the beautiful Japanese garden. Pick an avatar and interact with other attendees and entertainers!

gif of virtual world demo

You’ll bump into old friends and meet new ones, learn about sake, and enjoy musical performances, entertainment and activity booths. We’ll have a silent auction with great items for you to bid on and fun games to play. We even have Sake tasting kits and bento boxes available for pick up.

It’s only happening once and tickets are going fast, so be sure to get your tickets before they sell out!

two computers displaying the virtual platform


Saturday, July 17, 2021

VIP reception: 6:00 p.m.
Main event: 7:00 p.m.

Purchase a sake tasting kit and bento dinner to enhance your virtual event experience! Must pick up in Little Tokyo or South Bay.

*Must be 21 or over to purchase sake kits.

title text: 2020 Annual Report

Annual Report Cover page with title text better together, 2020 annual report. Features LTSC clients, staff and volunteers in masks.

LTSC’s 2020 Annual Report is now available!  Read client impact stories and see how we were able to create positive change during the pandemic.

header text "quick updates"

nicole lopez standing in front of yellow wall

Circle of Excellence Award

Nicole Lopez, LTSC’s Director of Child Development, recently won the Circle of Excellence Award from EveryChild California. The Circle of Excellence is awarded to a member of EveryChild California who has supported the Associations’ endeavors and has shown outstanding leadership within the ECE community.

We’re so proud to have dedicated and inspiring staff like Nicole on our team. Congratulations Nicole!



portrait of erich nakano

Neighborworks Panel

LTSC’s Executive Director, Erich Nakano recently spoke on a national Neighborworks Panel titled ‘Working Towards Safer AAPI Communities’.  Erich was joined by speakers from other AAPI organizations as they presented and discussed how they have been working to combat the uptick in violence against the Asian community.





budokan logo on building wall

Budokan is Open for Rentals

With Covid restrictions being lifted, Terasaki Budokan is now open to the general public for rentals! Host your next event at the all new facility or rent out the gym for recreational use. For more details on renting the facility, click here to view the digital brochure, or visit the Budokan website at





Champs mentors and mentees pose for a group picture on a set of stairs

Special Thanks to CHAMPS Mentors

LTSC partners with UCLA students to mentor youth in our buildings. Despite the pandemic, CHAMPS mentors continued to meet with the youth virtually, and recently donated food items to support our families. Thank you!

Header text: Upcoming events


camp budokan flyer


flyer for miracles under the stars

your donation makes a difference

Thank you to all of our wonderful donors and supporters.

Our work isn’t possible without you!

May 2021 Donors

Thank you to all our supporters for your contributions last month!
Add your name to the list by making a DONATION today.

Lean Aballe 

Aisha Abdali 

Jen Adachi 

Megan Adler 

Sidra Ahmad 

Evan Akashi 

Kaitlyn Akiyama 

Mika Akiyama 

Shayan Alam 

Kathleen Albert 

Chelsea Alburger 

Brandon Alcaraz 

Mayra Alcaraz 

Nancy Alcaraz 

Stephanie Alcaraz 

Elizabeth Alcaraz-Cervantes 

Lauryn Alejo 

Rev Alejo 

Adam Alix 

Courtney Allen 

Tanvi Anand-Kumar 

Melissa Anderson 

Darren Ando 

Christopher Angove 

Ana Anson-Alejo 


Mark Araos 

Nicole Archer 

Dennis Arguelles 

Emily Arnold
Athena Asklipiadis 

Alana Astringer 

Deanna Atkinson and Haley Rushing 

Mostafa Attia 

Nicholas Ayala 

Ian Bach 

Anna Badalian 

Kathleen Baker 

Katharine Beimfohr 

Jordan Bellamy 

Marlene Berry 

Alexander Bodman 

Christopher Bosco 

Madeleine Boucher 

Daniel Brill 

Christine Broda 

Nika Brodsky 

Thomas Brunoli 

Chaitrika Budamagunta 

Matthew Budelman 

Jennifer Buell 

Nicole Buntsis 

Nicolas Bureau 

Joan Burke 

Erin Burpee 

Alicia Burr 

Elizabeth Burton 

Joel Callen 

Abigail Cannon 

Manuel Carrera 

Keenan Cassidy 

James Chang 

Brennan Chamberlin 

Priscilla Chan 

Jung Chang 

Kun Chang 

Angela Chen 

Rebecca Chen 

Tina Chen 

Kavita Chepovetsky 

Kyu Won Choi 

Geoffrey Chow 

Brian Christensen 

Jonathan Chu 

Shirley Chu 

Wilson Chu 

Doris Chung 

Elicia Chung 

Gina Ciolli 

Edgar Cipriano 

Kaya Clemons 

Sharon Kamegai Cocita 

Anita Cole 

Myron Comer 

Steven Conaway 

Ben Cooper 

Caitlan Corbin 

Carol Costello 

Jeffrey Crocker 

Maureen Cronin 

Meredith Croy 

Tiffany Cruz 

Sandra Cruz 

Carolyn D’Andrea 

Renaldo Davis 

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Logan DeBiase 

Janessa Det 

Ciera Dineen 


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Christine Dumont 

Nicole Edelman 

Edison International 

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Robert Guffin 

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Maya Hashimoto 

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Kerin Higa 

Scott Hiji 

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Marc Iwamoto 

Garrett Jackson 

Jesse Jacobsen 

Marissa Jasso 

Dwayne Johnson 

Edward Jones 

Jana Jones 

Kaelen Jones 

Angela Jorgensen 

Dinesh Jotwani 

Max Kaito 

Toshio Kanazawa 

Adam Kane 

Matthew Kane 

Jennifer and Doug Kawaguchi 

Rosalyn Kawahira 

Margaret Kelly 

A Young Keum 

Kiboh Giving Circle: Joyce and Dr. Glen Komatsu, Lorraine and Lee Ouye, Tami and Nori Nishida, Sandy and Alan Kosaka, Tracey and Mark Doi 

Andrea Kim 

Soyoung Kim 

Joseph Kim 

Yoon-ji Kim 

Logan Kirst 

Steve and Akemi Kayleng Knight 

Carolyn Kobayashi 

Marcos Koga 

Brian Kohaya 

Yoko Koyama
Andrew Kuga 

Jenni Kuga 

Nicole Kuntjoro 

Hiroshi Kurakata 

Moet Kurakata 

Yukiko and Shunsuke Kurakata 

Alexander Kurihara 

Nalditya Kusuma 

Kathryn Kvas 

Hannah Kwon 

Peter Lai 

Jennifer Lamere 

Erin Lann 

An Le 

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Kristin Lee 

Loren Lee 

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Matthew Levin 

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Mengru Li 

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Rebecca Lim 

Jasper Lim 

Diane Lin 

Joyce Lin 

Adrienne Liu 

Shu Liu 

William Liu 

David Liu 

Kendrick Lo 

Francisco LoBello III 

Amanda Long 

Sanyu Lubogo 

Lori Magallanes 

Beverly Mah 

Rosie Maharjan 

Robert Mahoney 

Raymond Mai 

Autumn Maison 

Susan Maki 

Maribel Malit 

Lauren Marian 

Marisa Mark 

Andrew Martin 

Gary and June Masada 

Cheryl Masukawa 

Mariko Matoba 

Charlotte and Vince Matsudaira 

Glenn Matsumoto 

Kaz Matsumoto 

Luca Matsumoto 

Bob and Teresa Matsushima 

Judy Matsuzaki 

Alycea McCarthy 

Katherine McCrary 

Justin McGoldrick 

Mollie McHugh 

Tenaya Medeiros 

Anthony Doffek 

Chelsea Medina 

Marisa Melissinos 

Anne Merkert 

Christine Merrill 

Callum Merriman 

Cassandra Michel 


Microsoft Rewards / Give with Bing 

Mackenzie Miers 

Jason Miguel 

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Kiyomi D. Mizukami 

Grace Mizushima 

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Meryl Mohan 

Rafael Moises 

Noe Montas 

Philip Montesinos 

Carrington Moore 

Ashley Morris 

Christine Motch 

Eve Mothner 

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Ronak Nair 

John and Shirley Nakaki 

Janis Nakamura 

Reine Nakamura 

Alina Nakano 

Erich Nakano and Sandra Viera 

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Jason Novak 

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Kathryn Oakes 

Adam Offitzer 

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Rosa Oh 

Lily Ohara 

Michelle Ojiri 

John Okita and Michiko Yamamoto 

Shoichi and Ayumi Omoto 

Stuart Onstad 

Jennifer Oon 

Susan Osa 

Nicole Oshima 

Amin Osman 

Ann Otoide 

Celeste Ou 

Lee and Lorraine Ouye 

Laurie Paguio 

Ellen Pai 

Lucia Pape 

Colin Parajon 

Jasmine Park 

Elizabeth Patcai 

PayPal Giving Fund 

Michael Pelensky 

Jason Phillips 

Nicole Pikulin 

Marel Pitter 

John Pitts 

Chiara Piucci 

Molly Quinlan 

Michael Raimi 

Shirley Ramos 

Kristin Ramsey 

Yoshnee Raveendran 

Sarah Raymond 

Ashish Reddy 

Ann Redpath 

Adrienne Rhodes 

Carlos Rodriguez Castillo 

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Melanie Russo 

Evan Ryan 

Austin Saephan 

Melanie Sakai 

Sarah Salenger 

Kiyana Salkeld 

Glenn and Donna Sanada 

Lucas Santoro 

Justin Sayles 

Jason Schaffer 

Jeff and Reina Schaffer 

David Schmidt 

Mirella Schnaidman 

McKenneth Scott 

Shizue Seigel 

Aylin Selcukoglu 

Mithun Selvaratnam 

Gail Sharp 

Samantha Shaw 

Courtlyn Shimada 

Kenji Shimada 

Margaret and Ken Shimada 

Ila Shon 

Nathan Singhapok 

Herrison Sitorus 

Nina Small 

Adam Smith 

Anna Smith 

Kabuki Snyder 

Erica Sooter 

Milad Soufastai 


Stan Spring 

Sai Keerthana Srinivasan 

Kirsten Stamn 

Nicholas Stilwell 

Anne Rose Strasser 

Elana Sulzer 

Jon Sumner 

Grant Sunoo and Emily Mayeda 

Lorraine Suzuki 

Michael Suzuki 

Katerina Swanson 

Lily Szajnberg-Martinez 

Martin and Karen Tachiki 

Esther Taira 

Kelly and Rintaro Takasu 

Yuka Takeuchi 

Siva Tamilmani 

Josephine Tan 

Kendall Tani 

George Tanaka 

Stacey Tanaka 

Ty Tanioka 

Griffin Tanner 

Jeffrey Tao 

Chelle Tateishi 

Jessica Kanai Tateishi and Collin Tateishi 

Jennifer Terada 

Jennifer Thom-Santelli 

James Thomson 

Ethan Thorsen-Lusterman 

Sayoko Thrower 

Robert Tiemstra 

Angeline Toh 

Yumi Tomsha 

Dayna Tran 

Nhat Tran 

Danielle Treskov 

Naina Tugung 

Keith Umemoto 


Mark and Vivien Usui 

Allison Valenta 


Justin Visentin 

Jonathan Vu 

Ken Wada 

Connie Walker 

Walt Disney Company 

Momoyo Walters 

Helena Wang 

Jin Wang 

Shitian Wang 

Jia Wang 

Marsha and Gary Watanabe 

Tom Watanabe 

Yua Watanabe 

Thomas Watanapun 

Samuel Way 

Emily and Daniel Weaver 

Angie Wei 

Virginia Wei 

Jeremy Weiner 

Naomi Weinstein 

Lucas Weiss 

Gabrielle Westfield 

William Wetherell 

Emily White 

Rachel Whitney 

Robert Williams 

Alina Nakano 

Amanda Wong 

Emily Wong 

Nicole Wong 

Lesley and Russell Wong 

Petrina Wong 

Derek Wright 

Melisa Wu 

Sarah Xie 

Alice Yamada 

Kathy Yamamoto 

Staci Yamano and Daniel Kent 

Edwin, Lynn, and Auntie Mary Yamasaki 

Joy Yamaguchi 

Wii Yatani 

Samantha Yeh 

Catherine Yen 

Jason Yip 

Jeff and Ellen Yonemura 

Matthew Yonemura 

Michael Yonemura 

Lisa Young 

Brian Yu 

Stewart Yu 

Tong Fong Yu 

Jared Yuan-Vogel 

Xuan Yue 

Sai Ho Michael Yung 

Ines Zeng 

Maggie Zhang 

Sharon Zheng 

Jenny Zhu 

Shayne Zotti 


Tribute Gifts 

In Honor of Katie Mitani’ 

Minhthi Le 


Memorial Gifts 

In Memory of Keiko Kuida 

Chris and Doug Aihara 

Jon and Vickee (Ikeguchi) Hasegawa  

In Memory of David Y. Miyashita 

Marivic A. Miyashita 

In Memory of S. Stephen & Sally Nakashima 


In Memory of Merilynne Quon 

Donna Hirota  

In Memory of Jeannette Kyoko Sanderson 

Emily and Dan Weaver 

In Memory of Kiyoshi and Chieko Shimokaji 

Michael Shimokaji 

In Memory of Nicholas Kendall Song 

Mark Afram 

Anonymous (7) 

Cynthia Chan 

Sophia Chen 

Dianne Chow 

Dennis Chow 

Rick, Kathleen, Timothy and Kaylie Chuman 

Elena and Eden Chung 

Jaelene Decena 

Dave, Shari, Caylie and Sara 

John Funakoshi 

Nancy Hamamoto 

Tracy Ishimaru 

Chester Kano and Family 

Jane Kim 

Leslie and Joshua Koh 

Jennie, Lauren, and Brian Kojima 

Judy Lam 

Martha Lawenko 

Esther Lee 

Karen Lee 

Michelle Li 

The Louie Family 

Mike and Jill Lowery 

Eric Lui 

Jonathan Mak 

Vivian Matsushige 

Nurse Midwifery Service 

Miriam Navarro 

Howard Ng 

Vy Nguyen and Cameron Levin 

Victor Okada 

Karen & Jim Loui, Roxanne & Rick Ong, Candace Ong, Jon Ng, Marcelle & Dwayne Ong 

Janice Oshiro 

Carol Quan 

Paula Rodgers 

Michelle, Christin, Barbara and Masa Samura 

Jerry and Janice Simnitt 

Jim, Caroline, Nate and Gabby Simnitt 

Evangeline Song 

Alice Tang 

Lanora Tom 

Wes, Sandie, Darren and Juliana Tom 

Robin Toma 

Jennifer Tran 

Karin Wang 

Debbie Santo 

Pauline and Kenny Yau 

Rody and Kathleen Yoshinaka 

Angela Young 


Terasaki Budokan 

Akemi Arakaki and Takao Suzuki 

Kris, Nick, Brent Kishi Federisy 

Don Matsumoto 

Jason and Rachelle Samson 

Jeremy Tochihara, Boy Scout Troop 719 

Loana Valencia 

Jayne and Gideon Young Family 


Terasaki Budokan Memorial Gifts 

In Memory of Betty Kitabayashi 

Mark Shinmoto 

In Memory of Delcey Kawasaki 

Alyssa and Noel Kinoshita 

In Memory of Henry (Hank) Noboru Yamada 

Kayko Sonoda 


Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches (A3M) 

Pauline Choi 

Christine and Denny Huang 

The Swinerton Foundation 


In-kind Donations 

Japanese American Bar Association 

Kabushiki Gaisha Atora a 

The Kawahara Family 

Akira Kawasaki Family 

Jeremy Tochihara, Boy Scout Troop 719 

Marsha and Gary Watanabe 


Vehicle Donations 

Wesley Tom 

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