Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Japantown: TOOYOO-DO Newspaper July 1970




"DROP IN: With this purpose uppermost in their minds, many young San Francisco sansei have begun painting, cleaning, sweeping, and mopping the upper floors of the Morino building (you know, Honnami gift shop) at Sutter and Buchanan Streets. The Japanese Community Youth Council (JCYC) became the building's legal tenants when Jeff Mori, JCYC Chairman, finally executed a contract with the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency after months of negotiations. The building will be headquarters of the JCYC and a drop-in center. Proposed programs include arts and crafts, an issei lounge and library, film series, draft counseling, a photographic club, and just dropping in.

JCYC represents all the youth organizations in San Francisco with membership including both high school and college students. Organized last summer by Ron Kobata, JCYC’s purposes are: 1) to establish better working relationships and communication between the groups; 2) to represent and speak for the youth of San Francisco’s Japanese community; 3) to help provide an answer to the widespread sansei question of identity, and finally 4) to facilitate the exchange of ideas to solve organizational problems of developing and sustaining involvement, initiative, and imagination for constructive social change.


"Today, a lot of people are talking about getting it together with their people. The problems that confront us today are many and complex and so, it is impossible to deal with these problems as individuals any longer. One reason why we are not together today is because we spend more time badmouthing each other. How many times have you heard people say:

'Those guys on the corner think they’re bad.' ‘See that guy--see the way he walks—he thinks he’s bad.’ ‘See the way she wears her skirts--Who does she think she is.’

Familiar lines—coming from people who look the same, dress the same, talk the same, and do the same things as the people they’re talking about. The only thing that separates them is their affiliation with a different club, youth group, church, athletic team or any other organization that people belong to. As long as we continue to badmouth each other, we will never come together. But, one may ask, why come together?

Coming together and building community has two main advantages over working as individuals. First, in building a community, you start to build a trust between each other. Instead of always just looking out for yourself, you start to look out for others. You start to check-out problems in the community and then try to develop programs which help meet the needs of the community. If the issei’s needs aren’t being taken care of (welfare, health, general friendship) then you develop programs to meet these needs; if brothers or sisters are being busted, you get them out; if quality education isn’t being developed, you develop relevant curriculum; if there are no recreational facilities, you create them. In short, it's a totally new feeling of looking out for each other instead of always cutting each other down. Dig it — if we didn’t take care of the needs of our people, who else would? Besides developing a ‘look out for each other attitude’, you also start to realize that if you are ever in trouble or need assistance the community will also look out for you. It's a two-way process — by taking care of others, you will be taking care of yourself.

The second aspect of community is the potential power which we will have if we did come together. Understand that people means power—the more people behind you means the more power you have. Certain issues which we all generally agree upon--end racism, insensitivity to Asian people in schools as well as general society, end to war and all involvement in Indochina, end to poverty, exploitation and oppression-- will be dealt with if we spoke as one, united, rather than speaking as scattered individuals. Dig it—no one is ever going to consider us unless we come together. Our ideas, opinions, and perspectives will be heard and our influence will be felt.

Working together, learning together, and trusting each other-- that’s what we’re talking about. We must start at the community level, and try to continually expand until our influence is felt nationally. We are moving in the direction of a better life for all our people as well as all the people of the world. Get on it!"