About the Japanese American National Museum
The Japanese American National Museum was founded in 1985 and is currently housed in an 85,000-square-foot facility in the historic Little Tokyo neighborhood of downtown Los Angeles. The mission of JANM is to promote understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Japanese American experience. It fulfills this mission in a variety of ways that include, but are not limited to, exhibitions; docent-led tours of its core exhibition for school groups; public programming that spotlights films and books; workshops; and community gatherings. The museum also stewards a permanent collection of over 100,000 individual artifacts.
About the Gala Dinner and Silent Auction
JANM’s annual Gala Dinner and Silent Auction is its largest fundraising event of the year and serves as a much-anticipated opportunity for people, especially those in the Japanese American community, to come together in support of an important institution and its wide-ranging work.
Over 1,000 guests attend this event and we hope you will be among them!
This year’s Gala Dinner will be held at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites in downtown Los Angeles, on Saturday, April 21, 2018. The evening will begin with a silent auction and cocktail reception, followed by dinner and a program in which we will recognize our honorees and share highlights of the past twelve months. We will also pull the winning ticket for our Lexus Opportunity Drawing.
A portion of the evening is dedicated to raising money for the museum’s Bid for Education program, which supports bus transportation and museum admission for primary and secondary school students. Bid for Education funds also support K–12 educator workshops, the development of free printed and digital resources for educators, docent recruitment and training, and many other educational initiatives. Even if you cannot join us at the Gala, you can contribute to the Bid for Education online.
About this year’s theme
The concept of democracy has been at the core of the museum since its founding, and it is vital for us to remember that democracy must never be taken for granted. We are still confronted on a daily basis with actions that seek to unfairly marginalize certain groups because of prejudice and fear. So only when people—and places like JANM—fight for democracy can it thrive. The honorees are:
Senator Mazie K. Hirono became Hawaii’s first female senator when elected in 2012 and serves on numerous Senate committees. Among her accomplishments, Hirono and fellow Senator Tammy Duckworth introduced the Korematsu-Takai Civil Liberties Protection Act of 2017. It is intended to ensure that no one is imprisoned or detained based on a legally protected characteristic such as race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
Aiko Herzig Yoshinaga was the lead researcher for the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC). She discovered the tenth and only existing copy of the original printing of the 1942 Final Report on Japanese Evacuation from the West Coast, which provided proof that the army had seen no military necessity to deprive 120,000 individuals of their rights. The CWRIC report was the foundation for legislative redress.
About this year’s featured performers
Singer-songwriter Judith Hill, along with her musician parents, Michiko and Pee Wee Hill, will be the featured performers at the 208 Gala Dinner. Judith Hill has been a background singer for such legends as Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Ringo Starr, and the late Michael Jackson. She served as the latter’s duet partner on the classic ballad “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” which appeared on the posthumously released film Michael Jackson’s This Is It. Hill also appeared in the Oscar-winning documentary 20 Feet from Stardom, a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of several acclaimed background singers, and earned a Grammy Award for Best Music Film for her participation. It was while competing during the fourth season of the The Voice that Hill began to cement her identity as a solo artist. Shortly after, Hill partnered with Prince and he co-produced her debut solo album, Back in Time. Michiko Hill and Pee Wee Hill are well-known Los Angeles-area funk and jazz musicians and arrangers. Michiko plays keyboards and Pee Wee is a bass player.