JACL and OCA Hold Successful Leadership Summit in Washington, DC


9 May 2017

CONTACT:        Kendall Kosai | OCA, Deputy Director, 202-223-5500

            Stephanie Nitahara | JACL, Interim Executive Director, 213-784-7931


WASHINGTON, DC – The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates welcomed 29 chapter leaders from around the country for the JACL/OCA Leadership Summit which ran from April 15 – 18, 2017 in the nation’s capital.


Co-convened in 1994, the JACL/OCA Leadership Summit is structured to provide a broad overview of the decision making process at the federal level to 29 participants from JACL and OCA chapters. Participants are briefed on legislative issues affecting the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and examine the role of AAPI civil rights organization in pursuing civil rights legislation in the nation’s capital. The JACL/OCA Leadership Summit is generously sponsored by State Farm, Southwest Airlines and the National Education Association.


The 2017 JACL/OCA Leadership Summit participants are as follows:

OCA Participants:


•        Jenevieve Bayaua – OCA SF Bay

•        Vera Boggs, OCA – Greater Cleveland

•        Christine Bush, OCA – San Mateo

•        Joseph Choi, OCA – Greater DC

•        Julia Chung, OCA – New York

•        Yvonne Foo, OCA – St. Louis

•        Yun Kyung Kim, OCA – Greater Los Angeles

•        Chi Pang Li, OCA – East Bay

•        Marian Lien, OCA – Pittsburgh

•        Verona Mauga, OCA – Utah 

•        Mabel Menard, OCA – Greater Chicago

•        Nancy Pyon, OCA – Columbus

•        Nai Saechao, OCA – Greater Sacramento

•        John Tan, OCA – New Jersey

•        Steven Wu, OCA – Greater Houston

JACL Participants:


•        Amy Riye Chow – JACL Chicago Chapter

•        Eric Langowski – JACL Hoosier Chapter

•        Nikki Nojima Louis – JACL Albuquerque Chapter

•        Janice Yamaoka Luszczak – JACL Sacramento Chapter

•        Kimiko Marr – JACL Watsonville-Santa Cruz Chapter

•        Erika Ninoyu – JACL Alaska Chapter

•        Gary Okamoto – JACL Mt. Olympus Chapter

•        Rebecca Ozaki – JACL Chicago Chapter

•        Sarah Purdy – JACL New England Chapter

•        Eric Saul – JACL Washington, DC Chapter

•        Bill Staples – JACL Arizona Chapter

•        Ryan Yamada – JACL Omaha Chapter

•        Allison Yamamoto – JACL New York Chapter

•        Kayoko Yokoyama – JACL Berkeley Chapter


“The JACL/OCA Leadership Summit is one of OCA’s most important programs and truly empowers the next generation of future leaders,” said Ken Lee, OCA Chief Executive Officer.  “As a past participant myself, the leadership and advocacy skills that participants experience are invaluable.  I continue to apply the leadership and advocacy skills to my role with OCA today. We are grateful to State Farm for their financial support of this critical program, Southwest Airlines for being the official airline of the JACL/OCA Leadership Summit, and the National Education Association for hosting us during the three-day summit.”


Stephanie Nitahara, JACL Interim Executive Director noted, “I participated in this program nearly a decade ago, and it has remained in my mind one of my favorite JACL memories.  It was wonderful to see such a diverse group of participants and to get to know the amazing leaders from across the country.  The lasting connections that are made through this summit, is one of the most important aspects to continuing the strong partnership between JACL and OCA. An enormous thank you to State Farm, Southwest, and the National Education Association for their support of this program, and to Merissa Nakamura, JACL’s Norman Y. Mineta Fellow, Kim Hall, OCA Civil Rights Fellow, and all of the staff for their work on this successful program.”


Founded in 1929, JACL is the oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization in the United States.


OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is a national organization of community advocates dedicated to improving the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs).