Homecoming

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Beef Teriyaki Skewering

The Obon Festival is a time when Japanese-American people return to their communities and honor the deceased. According the Buddhist Church, the Obon Festival is called Kangi-e, the gathering of joy. Obon for many is considered a homecoming because it is a time when people return to their hometowns to see family and friends, dance, play games, and eat.

Silvery Towers Picket

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Union workers picket Silvery Towers in down-town San Jose over hiring scab workers on May 31, 2017. According to Al Gonzalez, a business representative for UA Local 393, Silvery Towers was sold to Guangzhou R&F Properties in China. Full Power Construction an affiliate of Guangzhou R&F then hired non-union workers from outside the area.
It was also learned that Guangzhou R&F Properties lured Chinese millionaires to invest at least $500,000 in their project in order to obtain a US green card due to the EB-5 Visa program. The EB-5 Visa program is an archaic investor program enabling entrepreneurs to apply for a green card if they invest or provide jobs for workers.
Full Power Construction hired inexperienced non-union plumbers, sheet-metal workers, and electricians as low as $15 up to $30 a hour who are often inadequate for the work.
Full Power Construction are not paying workers family sustaining wages especially for the costly Silicon Valley area. They are not hiring local workers, apprentices, women, and veterans in order to cut costs and increase their profit margins. In addition the EB-5 scheme doesn’t really benefit local workers or help decrease local housing costs but only to make more money for Guangzhou R&F Properties.

San Jose Community Mural Bike Ride

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Over 200 bicycle riders showed up on the San Jose Mural bike ride on Saturday March 4, 2017. The bicycle ride was basically a way to learn about San José’s diverse, vibrant, and rich culture traversing the communities of Gardner, Down-town, East Side, Mayfair, and Japan-town.

The starting point was the Aztec Calendar mural at the Gardner Community Center painted by Antonio Nava Torres in 1995. Nearby we visited the Washington Elementary mural designed by 3rd and 4th graders and painted by local artists.

Afterwards we rode to the East Side to see “The Mural de la Raza” by Jose Meza, one of the oldest murals in San Jose on Story Road, and is about history of the Chicano community. It was highlighted by a talk by “The Homeboy Mad” or Jose Valle.

Heading towards Japan-town we visited Guadalajara Market on Empire Street in San Jose and is the site of 2 murals. It was be the new site of Empire 7 Studios in the future. The highlight of the tour was the exquisite Nosego mural Nichi Bei Busan in San Jose Nihonmachi which we took a group photo.

The San Jose Mural Bicycle ride was organized by Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, De-Bug, and Empire Seven Studios.

Singapore

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Photograph taken by Haruya Kono from Yokohama, Japan who was on a business trip to Singapore on December 2016. Singapore with a population of only 5.61 million, has a strong global economy, a high GDP, low unemployment, and a diverse population. It is the world’s only island city-state.

San Jose Women’s March 1-21-2017

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A fervent Women’s March crowd of over 30,000 women and supporters marched from San Jose City Hall to Plaza de César Chavez in San Jose on January 21, 2017. It was one of the largest marches in San Jose history. They marched to denounce the attitudes and beliefs of new President Donald Trump. Trump is threatening to overturn abortion rights, shut down Planned Parenthood, and nominate anti choice Supreme Court Justices. The Women’s March brought many new activists forward and re-energized the movement to protect human rights, civil liberties, and social justice.

Day of Action

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An exuberant rally and march fighting for immigrant rights started at the San Jose City Hall and ended at the Plaza de César Chavez on January 17, 2017. It was the national and international day to demand protection against criminalization, deportations, and hatred resulting from the election of Trump. They were fighting to defend DACA (it allows young undocumented immigrants a deferred action from deportation), immigrants, LGBTQ, Muslims, and refugees.