At the May 19th meeting, members and guests heard a presentation from Mr. Mark Kazuo Robbins, Government and Community Relations Officer, Japanese American National Museum, Little Tokyo, Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA).

In Daniel's introduction, he noted that Mark obtained a law degree from UCLA and passed the Bar to practice law, first in Maryland and then in California.  Mark began his presentation explaining the mission of the JAN Museum as well as his function in working with different groups in the community to increase awareness of what the museum offers.

The JAN Museum is located in Little Tokyo, in DTLA, one of the three “Little Tokyo” communities remaining in the US.  The museum helps educate about and be a source of inspiration for America's diversity.  It does this by sharing the culture and experience of Japanese Americans.  Japanese Americans have been in the US for 130 years.  One of the permanent exhibits in the museum presents the experience of Japanese Americans living in the internment camps during World War II.  Daniel mentioned that during his one visit to the museum, the museum docent leading Daniel's group explained that he had lived in an internment camp when he was a child. The exhibit includes a replica of an actual structure where families lived.  As an important note, Mark used the term “incarceration” camps.  He stated that there were a total of 130,000 Japanese Americans confined to the “incarceration” camps, located in various locations in the US, including California.

The museum also has changing exhibits.   For example, there is an exhibit entitled: “Making Waves – 1920 -1940” which is about Japanese American photographers and their photos during this time period.  Coming soon is an exhibit showing various styles of origami (folded paper style) art works. Also coming is an exhibit showing the art and culture of Polynesian Pride.  Then there is a coming event featuring mixed heritage culture.  Also, there are two big festivals every year, one in August and one in January.  The museum gives tours for school kids, to include helping fund the cost of busing kids to the museum, where financial need prevents such activities.  LUSD Director of Elementary Education, K-8, Alfonso Jimenez, in attendance at the meeting, expressed an interest in having LUSD students getting tours of the museum.  (Note from Daniel: let's hope this happens!)

At the end of his presentation, Mark briefly mentioned three US Supreme Court decisions which while WWII was still ongoing, upheld the “incarceration” camps and related government actions, such as mandatory curfews against Japanese Americans.  Mark also mentioned that in the 1980's several actions were initiated by representatives of the Japanese American community to nullify the previous Supreme Court decisions.  This was accomplished.  (Note by Daniel: basically the Supreme Court's justification of the “incarceration” actions of the US government, and related actions, were that the Federal Government had to rely on the recommendations of what was justifiable from the recommendations of the military at that time)

 Before the presentation, President-Elect Ramon Rodriguez explained that he was substituting for Club President, Martina Rodriguez, who could not attend this meeting. He explained that the Club Board met .on Wed. May 18 at 8pm, and made plans for the Fri, Jun 24, 10th Anniversary Youth act Celebration Event.  It will be held in the large banquet room at Bateman Hall, with 40 tables set up, and an anticipation of 300 persons in attendance.  He also talked about the Annual Rotary Foundation Dinner Event to be held Sat, Oct 22, on board the USS Iowa Battleship in San Pedro in the LA Harbor.  Tickets are $125.00, per person, if paid in the next month.  After two more acceptances at the meeting, there are now a total of ten persons signed up, so the club will be all sitting at the same table.  Ramon also mentioned that the club will have to sign up lists for work shifts for the fireworks stand staffing: Jul 1 thru Jul 4.

Club Secretary, Maria Quinonez  (Lulu), mentioned  that the Lynwood Rotary Club will again participate in the 24 Hour American Cancer Relay for Life, in Lynwood Park, starting at 9:00 am on Sat, June 25 to 9:00 am, Sun, June 26.  Youth act members and some parents will also participate.  Lulu also noted that the club had a table at the Lynwood hub for the CICLAVIA event last Sunday from 9 am to 4 pm.  Rotary Youth act volunteers from Roosevelt and Helen Keller Elementary Schools and some parents also helped out, along with Tila and Fernando Millan. 

Daniel Miller / Omar Franco / Rowland Becerra  Public Relations and Community Outreach for the Lynwood Rotary Club