I have been a member of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) for seven years. I have been a board member of the JACL Chicago Chapter for the past two years, and I am the co-chair of the youth committee. I am also a member of the Native American Support Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I have volunteered for the Japanese American Citizens League for their Scholarship Luncheon as the Emcee speaker, and as the Chicago Day of Remembrance emcee. I have volunteered for events for the Japanese American Service Committee, Christ Church of Chicago, and the Midwest Buddhist Temple. I am the youngest of three brothers, Brandon and Scott, and the son of Robert and Janice. I am a fourth generation Japanese American, I have a lot of gratitude and thankfulness for my great grandparents and grandparents to have endured incarceration in the internment camps during World War II. My family background is what drives my involvement in the Japanese American Community, and why I want to give back to the community.
The most important person in my life in high school is my late friend Nathan Palma. Nathan and I had grown up together, going to the same school together, and we shared a friendship that I knew could have lasted a life time. Nathan passed away in my senior year in high school and the cause was due to an autoimmune disease known as Lupus. In the span of our friendship, I did not know that he was diagnosed with this disease because he had never complained about it or even showed any of the pain that he had to endure. Ever since he passed away I have had a different outlook on life because it made me realize that life is really short, which was clearly evident in his passing at such a young age. The lesson I learned from Nathan’s passing is to live life to the fullest.