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Please join us for the closing of Okaeri with some storytelling from Ryka Aoki.
Ryka Aoki (pronouns: she/her) is a writer, performer, and professor who has been honored by the California State Senate for for her “extraordinary commitment to free speech and artistic expression, as well as the visibility and well-being of Transgender people”. In 2013, Ryka was honored as a member of the “Trans 100 List” as one of 100 groundbreaking trans advocates in the U.S, and named as one of “11 Trans Artists of Color You Should Know in 2013” by the Huffington Post. She was a charter member of the Transgender Advisory Committee for Asian Pacific Islanders for Human Rights (APHIR). Ryka has as an MFA in Creative Writing from Cornell University and currently teaches at Santa Monica College and Antioch University. Ryka Aoki is a two-time Lambda Award Finalist and the author of Seasonal Velocities, He Mele a Hilo (A Hilo Song) and Why Dust Shall Never Settle Upon This Soul.
Sean Miura (See Friday Welcome for Bio)
Come out and let loose and have fun at Okaeri’s Dance Party. Get an opportunity to mingle with other attendees, eat, drink (if 21+), and celebrate the Nikkei LGBTQ community. DJ Akiko will be spinning sick tunes ‘till 10pm!
Deeply passionate about Turntablism, Akiko (pronouns: she/her) dedicates her life to the DJ Arts. AkikoLUV is a bonafide “skratch nerd”. Active in the L.A. and Online DJ battle scene, she trains tirelessly, and looks forward to continuing her competitive career. Her battle resume includes placement in the 2016 “Bay Area” and “L.A.” DMC, and selection for the 2015 S.D. RedBull3Style competition. Akiko’s technical, yet playful mixing is what makes her style so unique and fun as a crowd rocking specialist. AkikoLUV’s eclectic musical selection, sliced with quick mixing and cuts, leave your hearts dancing and yearning for more.
Networking & Self-Organized Open Space
Want to connect with someone you heard from earlier in the day? Interested in finding out more about the awesome work that they do, or collaborating with them in the future? Want to catch up with other attendees you haven’t seen in awhile? Want to organize your own breakout or caucus with people you share identities with and/or want to have specific conversations with?
Enjoy some snacks and use this time to meet and reconnect with other attendees!
Walking Tour of Little Tokyo
The Little Tokyo tour provides an opportunity to explore and understand the importance of preserving a 130 year-old community. Little Tokyo is the oldest neighborhood in Los Angeles and one of three remaining Japantowns in the nation. The tour will focus on the important role that community activism has played in defining the community, and the continuing importance of activism in building a future for Little Tokyo in the midst of gentrification and downtown development.
Alan Nishio (pronouns: he/him) has been involved in Little Tokyo for almost fifty years. In the 1960’s, Alan was involved in the fight against the redevelopment of Little Tokyo and the forced eviction of many low income seniors on fixed incomes. Since that time, he has continued his involvement in Little Tokyo and currently serves on the board of directors of the Little Tokyo Service Center and the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center. Alan also works actively with Kizuna, an organization working to build a new generation of stakeholders in the Nikkei community. Alan retired from California State University, Long Beach after a career serving as the Associate Vice President of Student Services and teaching in the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies. Alan was a founder and co-chair of the National Coalition of Redress/Reparations, an organization that played a significant role in the redress campaign for Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II. Alan is also a past president of the California Conference for Equality and Justice, a leading human relations organization in the state.
Kristin Fukushima (pronouns: she/her) is the Project Manager for Sustainable Little Tokyo – the community-driven, neighborhood-based initiative to sustain Little Tokyo for future generations in which sustainability is defined environmentally, economically, and culturally/historically. She is also the co-chair for the Planning and Cultural Preservation Committee for the Little Tokyo Community Council, which focuses on land use and built environment issues throughout Little Tokyo for LTCC, as the coalition of businesses, residents, nonprofits, and other stakeholders representing the Little Tokyo community. Kristin is part of LTroots, a young adult organization in Little Tokyo, and a co-founder of Kizuna - a Japanese American youth development and empowerment organization in Southern California.
This workshop will provide participants an opportunity to break down some basic gender terms, reflect on their own gender, and explore gender issues in the Nikkei community. The workshop will also provide time to do some creative writing.
This workshop will give participants the opportunity to collectively develop strategies to become better allies to people with marginalized identities, including analyzing their own power and privilege through group activities to brainstorm ways to address and dismantle oppression. At the end of the workshop, there will be a brief Q&A, and time to share community resources.
Intergenerational Trauma and Healing
The focus of this workshop will be to explore what cultural/familial trauma looks like in the Nikkei diaspora here in the US. We will examine salient factors that have shaped the communal experience of trauma to identify what trauma is and how it has played out in our community in relation to LGBT JA people.
Our Journeys to Acceptance and Love
The goal of this workshop is to provide information to help participants understand some of the challenges that Nikkei parents face when their children come out. This workshop will also provide an opportunity for participants to understand some of the good practices in navigating this journey to keep families connected. Lastly, this space will provide participants a space to share stories thereby raising awareness, compassion, patience and openness to a topic not often discussed in Nikkei families.
This plenary offers us an opportunity to make intergenerational connections that uplift LGBTQ narratives within the context of Japanese American history, experiences and culture. From reflections on the WWII Japanese American Incarceration experience, LGBTQ advocacy within the Nikkei community, and unpacking Nikkei cultural norms, speakers from various generations and experiences will reflect on their Nikkei roots and our diverse community today.
This workshop provides an API-centered conversation about LGBTQIA identities, including discussion of how many of our constructions of sexuality and gender are often centered on Western understandings. This workshop will provide vocabulary around gender identity, sexual orientation, and transgender issues, discuss privilege, power, and oppression related to LGBTQIA issues, and provide space for participants to discuss LGBTQIA identities within API diasporas, centered on Japanese American identities.
Religion, Spirituality, and Inclusion
This workshop will provide an opportunity for attendees to hear from Buddhist and Christian individuals and their personal experiences around the inclusion of LGBTQ community members within their religious and Nikkei context. Attendees will have time at the end of the panel to ask questions.
Let’s Talk About Sex: Exploring Desire and and Consent
The focus of this workshop will be to explore the profound sense of silence around JA LGBT sexuality and explore the impact this has had on sex positivity, risk, access to resources around sexual wellness and the stigma of LGBT sex especially as informed by religious dogma.
Nikkei LGBTQIA Organizing and Activism
This workshop will be an inspiring and collective learning space for Nikkei LGBTQIA community members and allies to harness the practice, framework, and abilities to strengthen their current organizing with greater inclusivity and intersectionality.