FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - November 15, 2023


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JANM to Relaunch the Daniel K. Inouye National Center for the Preservation of Democracy on December 1, 2023

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) will relaunch the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy as the Daniel K. Inouye National Center for the Preservation of Democracy (Democracy Center) on Friday, December 1, 2023. The relaunch will include remarks by James E. Herr, director of the Democracy Center, and Bill T Fujioka, chair of the JANM Board of Trustees. Musical performances will be provided by LA Taiko Collective and Urban Voices.

A program of JANM, the revitalized Democracy Center builds on the original vision of Senator Daniel K. Inouye. A place for education and participation, the Democracy Center examines issues around race, identity, and social justice; explores the evolving idea of what democracy is and what it means to be an American; and urges the public and leaders to bring diverse communities together, advocate for positive change, and promote democracy.

Two of the flagship programs of the revitalized Democracy Center will be the Distinguished Lecture Series honoring the late Secretary Norman Y. Mineta and the late Irene Hirano Inouye, with inaugural lectures in each series in January 2024 and Spring 2024 respectively.

“Senator Daniel Inouye envisioned the Democracy Center as a place where people would gather to learn about the fragility of democracy and examine the  constitutional rights and freedoms of all who live in the US through the Japanese American experience. Above all, it should be a center that  inspires all Americans to participate in the shaping of democracy. It goes hand in hand with our mission and willingness to speak out when civil rights are undermined, while at the same time, sharing the hard-fought lessons accrued from this history to shape a more just future,” said Ann Burroughs, President and CEO of JANM.

Current initiatives of the Democracy Center include:

  • The Toshizo Watanabe Democracy Fellowship which will promote democracy, leadership, diversity, and community empowerment. The Fellowship will facilitate dialogue and cooperation between early to mid-career leaders from Japan drawn from government, business, media, the arts, and NGO sectors and their American counterparts. The Fellowship program will be housed at the Democracy Center.
  • The Irene Yamamoto Arts Writers Fellowship, awarded annually to two emerging writers of color who have demonstrated commitment to writing about the art of communities of color and whose unique perspectives or points of view contribute to arts writing.
  • The collaborative program Our Shared Future Los Angeles, a two week summit offered in connection with the Smithsonian Institution’s initiative, Our Shared Future: Reckoning with Our Racial Past with Los Angeles partners LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes and Chinese American Museum, December 1–17, 2023.
  • Empathy & Democracy, a live four-part podcast series and pop-up art program presented by the Democracy Center in collaboration with the Gratitude Blooming Podcast. Part 3 will be on February 10, 2024 and Part 4 will be on May 4, 2024.
  • Programs with community partners including AAPI Equity Alliance, Artistas de Colores Unido, California Black Freedom Fund, Chinese American Museum, The Huey P. Newton Foundation, LA Live, and La Plaza de Cultura y Artes, Stop AAPI Hate, and others.
  • A forthcoming Democracy Book Store in the Democracy Center’s lobby. The book store will feature topical books about democracy by some of today’s important authors—many of whom will be featured through the Democracy Center’s partnership with Live Talks LA—and a Banned Books section featuring works banned because of their content or message.

In conjunction with the relaunch, the Democracy Center brings The Bias Inside Us, a nationally touring exhibition about implicit bias, to JANM from November 18, 2023–January 28, 2024. The exhibition examines the social science and psychology of implicit bias, its impact, and what people can do about it. Organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and hosted by the Democracy Center, the exhibition features compelling images, hands-on interactives, and powerful testimonials and videos that offer an opportunity to learn how to challenge bias in the world through awareness of one’s own bias.

“The Democracy Center envisions an enduring American Democracy where all people understand their right and responsibility to participate. Through public programs and initiatives like the Irene Yamamoto Arts Writers Fellowship we can convene and educate people of all ages about democracy to transform attitudes, celebrate culture, and promote civic engagement. The Bias Inside Us helps us all become aware of our own biases. In turn, we recognize their causes and how they impact our worldview. With that new knowledge, we can then challenge ourselves to be more inclusive and mindful as we navigate intersectionality and tough conversations with our friends, family, and communities,” said James E. Herr, director of the Democracy Center.

The Democracy Center is supported by the Boeing Company, the Daniel K. Inouye Institute, the Tateuchi Foundation, Critical Minded, John Kobara and Sarah Kobara, Sharon Mizota, Susan Morita and Alan Matsumoto, and the Toshizo Watanabe Foundation. Media sponsor is LAist.

Major support for The Bias Inside Us is provided by the Otto Bremer Trust. Additional support provided by Acton Family Giving, Anonymous donors, The Beverly Foundation, Steve and Sheri Lear, Target, the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation Fund of the Minneapolis Foundation, Thomson Reuters, Alabama Power Foundation, Allianz of America, Valerie E. and William A. Anders, Atlanta Gas Light Foundation, Julie and David Burton, the Dreier Family, Lennart Ehn and Ginger Lew, Expedia, Trevor and Melissa Fetter, the Roger S. Firestone Foundation, Brenda J. Gaines, Myra Hart and Kent Hewitt, Charlie and Nancy Hogan, Judy and Bob Huret, Dr. Christine C. Jenkins and Mr. Pierre A. France, KNOCK, inc., Sarah Lawer and Frank Guanco, Leaders Forum, Kathleen Mason, Elyse Rabinowitz and Jim Porter, Dr. Philip S. and Alice Hoolihan Randall, Gloria del C. Rodriguez, the Family of Leona Roen, and Naoma Tate.


About the Japanese American National Museum (JANM)

Established in 1985, JANM promotes understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Japanese American experience. Located in the historic Little Tokyo district of downtown Los Angeles, JANM is a center for civil rights, ensuring that the hard-fought lessons of the World War II incarceration are not forgotten. A Smithsonian Affiliate and one of America’s Cultural Treasures, JANM is a hybrid institution that straddles traditional museum categories. JANM is a center for the arts as well as history. It provides a voice for Japanese Americans and a forum that enables all people to explore their own heritage and culture. Since opening to the public in 1992, JANM has presented over 100 exhibitions onsite while traveling 40 exhibits to venues such as the Smithsonian Institution and the Ellis Island Museum in the United States, and to several leading cultural museums in Japan and South America. JANM is open on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday–Sunday from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. and on Thursday from 12 p.m.–8 p.m. JANM is free every third Thursday of the month. On all other Thursdays, JANM is free from 5 p.m.–8 p.m. For more information, visit or follow us on social media @jamuseum.