The Venice Culver JACL Chapter hosted its annual Frances Kitagawa Luncheon on Sunday, October 13, 2013. This year’s program included keynote speaker Leslie Ito, President and CEO of the Japanese American Cultural Center (JACCC) in Los Angeles and Miharu Okamura, 2013 Kitagawa Intern, currently a Film Major at California State University, Long Beach and President of NSU Cal State Long Beach.
Frances Kitagawa was a founding member of the Bay Cities JACL which later became the Venice Culver JACL. She was a Chapter President and served on various committees for the Regional and National JACL. In honor of of Frances and her many contributions to the community, the Venice Culver JACL established the Frances Kitagawa Leadership Development Internship Program for young adults in 2001.
The Frances Kitagawa Leadership Development Internship Program has provided opportunities for individuals to work on projects at PSW District Regional office, Pacific Citizen, Japanese American National Museum, and research for the Venice Japanese Community Center. Past interns include: Rosalyn Kawahira, Carly Hamaguchi, Lauren Kim, Kevin Akio Staub, Craig Ishii, Stacy Iwata, Tiffany (Yoshikawa) Sato, Alexa Giffin, Phil Hirose, Darin Noriyuki, Nicole Tsugawa and Miharu Okamura. We are very proud of our interns, and have seen them continue to develop into professional leaders, such as Craig Ishii, who went on to serve the community as PSWD JACL Regional Director and is now the Executive Director of Kizuna.