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Save Japantown Youth Leaders

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Dear Mayor Gavin Newsom, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and to all members responsible for the allocation of San Francisco funds,

On behalf of the Japanese American community, we are writing to express our deep concern over the recent decision by the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth, and Their Families (DCYF) to eliminate funding for the Japantown Youth Leaders (JYL) project. This leadership development project is vital to the future of the Japantown community and we urge you to restore funding for JYL and make it a priority in the budget you deliver to the Board of Supervisors on June 1st.

The JYL project, formerly known as the Japanese American Youth Services (JAYS) project, is currently the only DCYF funded project which is specifically targeted towards the Japantown community. The project was established in 1998 in response to the consensus need of the community to increase the civic engagement and leadership development of youth. Since that time, JYL has engaged hundreds of youth in community service, leadership training, and personal development.

During your first term as Mayor of San Francisco, you participated in a community meeting and declared your intent to ensure the long-term future and vitality of the Japantown community. As a result of your support, Japantown launched a Better Neighborhoods Planning process to identify strategies to preserve the unique heritage and bolster the economic development of the community. Regardless of the outcome of the BNP planning process, ultimately Japantown has no future without the emergence of young leaders to see the plan out to its fruition.

Eliminating 100% of the City’s resources for youth in other neighborhoods would be unthinkable. While we understand that the City’s budget crisis is dire, it cannot be balanced at the expense of this community. Though Japantown is a small neighborhood, it is unacceptable for the City of San Francisco to dismiss our neighborhood and the youth of this community.

Once again, we urge you to reinstate funding for the JYL project in the final budget that you will deliver to the Board of Supervisors on the first of June.


nihonmachiROOTS Japanese Community Youth Council

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