JCYC to hold a virtual run/walk for Black lives

Last year the Japanese Community Youth Council began thinking about how to use their annual SF Aloha Run “not to just raise funds, but to amplify issues that were affecting children of youth in this country,” Jon Osaki, the executive director of the organization, told the Nichi Bei Weekly by phone.

JCYC donated part of their proceeds of their 2019 5K/10K run/walk to two organizations who were assisting migrant families at the border, the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights based in Chicago and Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services based in San Antonio.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year, the SF Aloha Run for Black Lives will be held virtually in the U.S. from Sept. 26 to Oct. 4. It will donate proceeds to Black Girls Code, an organization that teaches underrepresented girls about programming, and the Booker T. Washington Community Service Center, a community center that offers child care and youth care services.

Osaki said it was important for his organization, which serves youth from diverse backgrounds throughout San Francisco, to step up for the Black community.

The late Yoritada “Yori” Wada, who served as the executive director of the Buchanan YMCA from 1966 to 1982, had a “major influence on the creation of JCYC” and was “instrumental in promoting a lot of interaction” between the Japanese American and Black community, Osaki said. Wada was also involved in the Western Addition, which neighbors San Francisco’s Japantown.

“We felt this moment in time required us to step up and figure out what we could do to amplify this message around ‘Black Lives Matter’ and to give people a way to engage,” Osaki said.

Kimberly Bryant, the founder of Black Girls Code, said her organization started holding events in 2016 to bring in “practitioners to talk to our girls about social justice, talking to them about health and wellness and mind, body and spirit.” In mid-July, Black Girls Code held a “day of healing” to “have a conversation around this sum of the trauma and experiences” they were in the midst of as a community.

During the Bay Area’s shelter-in-place orders, Bryant said her organization has created virtual programming that has reached more than 7,000 students from all over the world, including Jamaica, Trinidad and the Netherlands.
Black Girls Code is “really really proud of that accomplishment,” she added.

Osaki said JCYC won’t have an alternative fundraiser this year. “This moment in time requires us to think about how we can support the Black community.”

For more information or to support the SF Aloha Run for Black Lives, visit https://sfaloharun.org.

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