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The Chapter continually seeks to inform the public about the Japanese American experience. It carries this out in teacher training workshops and through the dissemination of educational resources.
Over the past six years, the Chapter has conducted teacher training workshops at Northwestern University, Northeastern Illinois University and New Trier High School. These workshops provided instruction to over 100 teachers on implementing a unit on the Japanese American experience in their classrooms. In addition, in 2003 the Chapter sponsored an exhibit at the annual convention of the National Council for the Social Studies, using this opportunity to display a number of educational resource materials, including the much-acclaimed JACL Curriculum Guide, A Lesson in American History: The Japanese American Experience.
Future committee plans include instituting textbook reviews to ensure students are receiving a fair and accurate depiction of Japanese American history, and offering a book club that considers literature which deals with the Japanese American experience.
In keeping with its long-standing goals, the Chapter continues in its endeavor to support and defend human and civil rights. It accomplishes this by organizing community activity, by monitoring against defamation and the use of racial slurs, and by coordinating with National JACL and other groups.
In recent years, the Chapter has assisted the work of Midwest Director Bill Yoshino on major hate crime cases in the Chicago area. This has included collaboration with a number of civil rights organizations in the aftermath of a shooting spree by Benjamin Smith, who fired on a number of Jews on Chicago’s north side, and later killed an African American in nearby Evanston and an Asian American in Bloomington, Indiana. The Chapter has also been involved in cases such as the murder of a Japanese merchant in Crystal Lake and a series of local assaults on Asian women.