Posted by Gurdip Hari on Sep 19, 2019
At the Sep 19, Noon meeting, Lynwood Club President – Gudiel Crosthwaite called the meeting to order. Before Gudiel Crosthwaite introduced the speaker, Koji Stevan Sakai, who he personally knows, several items of Rotary business and activities were briefly mentioned.
First of all, there was applause for the great Food Festival held at Martina’s home last Friday, Sep 13, from 4pm – 10 pm. Martina commented it was a lot of work on her part, along with support from other volunteers. She said that the financial results will be reported at the next Rotary meeting, 6pm, Sep 26. The Lynwood Rotary Club may plan for two more of these events during the year. Ramon Rodriguez has accepted responsibility to plan the next festival event, possibly to be held in Nov 2019. There was appreciation for members Joe Wang and Larry Esparza for helping with the Vision To Learn Program, this week, Mon, Tue, Wed, and Thur mornings at FHS. (The program provides eye glasses for students needing them, with the support of their parents.)
President Crosthwaite distributed a flyer about Rotary Days of Service at the LA Food Bank. Rotary District 5280 will support this event on four dates from Oct 2019 to May 2020. The first date is Oct 5, 2019. The locations are Commerce and Vernon. More coordination at the next Lynwood meeting.
The Rotary Foundation event that member Raj is coordinating is Sun, Oct 27, at The Taglyan Complex, Hollywood (1201 Vine St. Los Angeles, 90038).
Among the guests at the meeting, were a parent, Alma Betancourt and her daughter, Kimberly Wenceslao, who graduated from  FHS and now attends Yale, in Hartford, Conn.
President Crosthwaite introduced Koji Steven Sakai. He is a writer, producer and curator. He has an office and residence in South Pasadena. He was on the staff of the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo, in DTLA for about 15 years. Koji talked about Japanese American experiences with WWII internment camps and of  the WWII combat team in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, made up of Japanese Americans that were the most decorated unit of WWII, despite the fact that many of their families were still in the internment camps. Concerning these camps, Koji explained after the US Executive Order of Feb 19, 1942, by President FDR, on the USA west coast, Japanese American families received orders to evacuate to a camp, with two weeks to one day advance notice. A total of 120,000 people were sent to these camps, mostly in the high desert.
Koji’s presentation included PowerPoint images of the 442 combat unit where they were deployed in NW France with the assignment to rescue a Texas regiment, who were trapped in dark forests and endangered by Hitler’s military campaign. Concerning the Texas battalion, out of 225 soldiers, 175 soldiers survived. Koji distributed FREE copies of his book, entitled “442”, which images were shown on the screen. The hand drawn images related to the combat experiences of the 442 unit in NW France. Concerning the camps, one Rotary member visited the Manzanar Camp in Northern Calif and Koji mentioned that now there is a museum at the former camp to explain the life there during WWII. Rotary guest Irene Zapata, Teen Librarian for the City of Lynwood Library, was pleased to take multiple copies of Koji’s book for distribution through the library.