Iris Lou – San Jose JACL’s Daruma Awardee

The Northern California Western Nevada Pacific District held a District Luncheon on Saturday, April 23, 2016 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Pleasanton, CA.  Three past District treasurers were honored:  Fred Okimoto, Emily Teruya and John Yamada. In addition, District chapters had the opportunity to select an honoree to be recognized at the luncheon. 

San Jose JACL selected Iris Lou because of her dedication to the mission of JACL. She volunteers and takes personal responsibility to get projects completed. Her abilities and experiences have helped the San Jose JACL and San Jose Japantown host many special events and community service projects. Iris has compassionate leadership qualities to manage successful events/projects and endless energy to provide the hands-on labor to get the work completed. She has a passionate interest in social justice and in keeping the stories of the Japanese American experiences alive and valued.

As V.P. of Membership, Iris increased the Chapter’s membership in 2014-2015 by 3%, reversing the Chapter and National trend of declining membership. She independently called lapsed members and got many to rejoin as well as recruited new members. Iris always carried Chapter membership applications and did not hesitate to ask people she met to join the Chapter.

During 2015, Iris chaired the following committees:  San Jose JACL Volunteer Appreciation Barbecue; Issei Memorial Building (IMB) Annual Clean-up Day; and the IMB Halloween in Japantown with activities and games. In addition, she played a significant role in the Chapter’s participation in the San Jose Nikkei Matsuri and J-Town Film Festival. Iris is a major contributor to the Outlook, reporting on events and acknowledging members who have joined or renewed their membership. Beyond the countless hours she has provided, she has made financial donations to support the Chapter. Iris does so many things without asking for anything in return and is a most valued player with the Chapter and other JA community organizations.

Heartiest Congratulations, Iris!

(article by Neil Kozuma & Sharon Uyeda)