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APA Spotlight


Dec. 16, 2010 - March 27, 2012

"APA Spotlight" is a regular interview series on 8asians.com by Koji Steven Sakai interviewing Asian American community leaders from around the country.
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Stories from this series

Thumbnail for Karen Narasaki, President and Executive Director of the Asian American Justice Center
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Karen Narasaki, President and Executive Director of the Asian American Justice Center

June 23, 2011 • Koji Steven Sakai

Karen K. Narasaki is the President and Executive Director of the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), one of the nation’s leading voices advocating for the rights and interests of Asian Americans. Ms. Narasaki serves in a number of leadership positions in the civil rights and immigrant rights communities. She is vice chairwoman of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the nation’s oldest and broadest civil rights coalition. She heads the Rights Working Group, a coalition of human rights, civil rights, …

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Gina Hiraizumi, Actress/Singer

June 8, 2011 • Koji Steven Sakai

Gina Hiraizumi is one of the hardest working people in Hollywood. I’ve been a big fan of her from afar but recently we were both invited to Japan for a conference and I found out that not only is she a super talented actor/singer, but also one of the most down to earth and funny people I know. Gina has been in countless television shows, sung the national anthem all around the country, and is currently working on her first …

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Bill Watanabe, Executive Director of the Little Tokyo Service Center

May 27, 2011 • Koji Steven Sakai

Bill Watanabe, for the past 30 years, has been the Executive Director of the Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC), a multipurpose social welfare agency in the Little Tokyo district in downtown Los Angeles. Starting as a one-person office, Bill, together with the Board of Directors, has developed a comprehensive program of social services, housing and community development activities, with a combined staff of over 150 employees and hundreds of volunteers. Bill received his BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cal …

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Akira Uchimura of the Nikkei Youth Network

March 15, 2011 • Koji Steven Sakai

One of the people I met on my recent trip to Japan was Akira Uchimura, the Executive Director of the Nikkei Youth Network. He brought together a whole bunch of Nikkei (people of Japanese descent) from all over the world for a conference about Nikkei issues. Being one of the most interesting people I know, I sat down with Akira for a few minutes and got to know him better. These are the eight questions I decided to ask him: …

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Tom Ikeda, Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project

March 1, 2011 • Koji Steven Sakai

Tom Ikeda is the founding Executive Director of Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project. Using web technology, Densho provides access to over 400 video testimonies, 10,000 historical photos and documents, and in-depth teacher resources to explore principles of democracy by examining the World War II experiences of Japanese Americans. Densho—a Japanese term meaning “to pass on to the next generation,” or to leave a legacy—seeks to educate young people and inspire them to act in defense of liberty and the …

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Athena Mari Asklipiadis, Mixed Marrow

Feb. 15, 2011 • Koji Steven Sakai

Athena Mari Asklipiadis, who is of Japanese, Greek, Armenian, Italian, and Egyptian descent, was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She is a graduate of Pepperdine University with a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting. In 2002, Athena first stepped onto the multiracial/multiethnic scene by writing for Eurasian Nation and in 2004 she was an intern for the podcast and website, Addicted to Race. After college, Athena worked in radio production and promotions for CBS and Clear Channel in Los Angeles. She simultaneously worked as …

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Author in This Series

Koji Steven Sakai has written four feature films that have been produced, Haunted Highway (2006), The People I’ve Slept With (2009), Monster & Me (2012), and #1 Serial Killer (2012). He also served as a producer on The People I’ve Slept With and #1 Serial Killer. His feature length screenplay, Romeo, Juliet & Rosaline, was optioned by Amazon Studios. Koji’s debut novel, Romeo & Juliet Vs. Zombies, was released by Luthando Coeur, the fantasy imprint of Zharmae Publishing Press in February of 2015.

Updated March 2015

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