How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Japanese American, other organizations in Southern California pull together for quake relief

Photo by emrank/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A television screen in Nagoya, Japan displays a news report, March 11, 2011

Two large fundraising events for victims of last week's devastating 8.9 magnitude earthquake in northeastern Japan last week are taking place all day today at Angel Stadium in Anaheim and the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, where "drive-through" donations for the American Red Cross's relief effort are being accepted.

The Japan America Society of Southern California has information on both events posted on its website; the organization's president, Doug Erber, said the Los Angeles Dodgers organization approached the group Friday with the idea of helping out and it went from there. Both events today are being hosted by the Red Cross and by ABC Chanel 7, which is promoting today's fundraisers.

A similar event is happening tomorrow at Dodger Stadium, this one hosted by NBC Channel 4.

Japanese Americans have been raising funds in a number of different ways, setting up everything from relief funds to donation boxes in hotel lobbies, like at the Intercontinental Hotel in Century City, a property that's owned by a Japanese company. Some people have taken up individual collections, like a woman who raised more than $3,200 solo over the weekend, said Erber, whose group has urged its members to donate online to relief efforts. An arts collective has put together its own fundraiser for the victims.

Meanwhile, those with relatives in the quake-ravaged region around the port city of Sendai continue to seek news of relatives, including "my wife's best friend," Erber said. "She still can't find her family in Sendai. We're just hoping that no news is good news."

He said that several local Japanese American groups would be discussing ways to pool resources for quake relief later this week.

KPCC linked today to a list of "appropriate disaster relief" organizations taking donations to assist quake victims.

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