An Open Letter to the Taiko Community:

June 3, 2020

To our community,

The Taiko Community Alliance (TCA) stands on the shoulders of leaders who fought and struggled to make a better life for future generations. We are pained and saddened by the unlawful murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and the countless others, and we are reminded that our taiko community and its freedom of expression would not be possible without the Civil Rights movements and Black Liberation. We express our deepest sympathy to the families and communities affected by these awful, unlawful, and unjust tragedies. We stand in solidarity with the peaceful protests. 

The lineage of TCA draws directly from the Japanese American and Asian immigrant experience. Community leaders sought representation and a voice after emerging from the shame and silence of America and Canada’s World War II concentration camps. As our community continues to grow and embrace its diversity, we also reflect on our community’s shared history with others. As we’ve seen an increase in racial violence towards Asian Americans amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we are reminded of how much we owe to our predecessors – not just Japanese and Asian, but all leaders and activists – who endured, persisted, and fought peacefully to give our community a foundation. Okage sama de.

The Taiko Community Alliance is fully committed to creating physically and emotionally safe spaces for our entire taiko community. We do not tolerate racism, harassment, or violence of any kind, and never will. We will engage in self-examination and continue to listen, learn, take action, and support our diverse community. Taiko is intertwined with the Black community and culture – our beats and our heartbeats. With history as our compass and the drum as our voice, we will continue to condemn racial violence, hate, and bigotry. When Black lives matter and are uplifted, we are all uplifted. 

In solidarity,

Derek Oye
Chair, Board of Directors

Margaret McKenty
Co-Secretary, Board of Directors

Paul Sakamoto
Co-Secretary, Board of Directors

Rome Hamner
Board of Directors

Carley Okamura
Board of Directors

Tamiko Ooka
Vice-Chair, Board of Directors

Wisa Uemura
Treasurer, Board of Directors

Akemi Chan-Imai
Board of Directors

Daniel Hayman
Board of Directors

Benjamin Pachter
Board of Directors

Courtney Ozaki
Business Manager

Kristina McGaha
Program Manager

Sarah Gilbert
Operations Manager

Kelly Kuwabara
Board of Directors

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