First of all, the articles about Japanese American youth involvement were very revealing. They stated that, of course, in the Little Tokyo community it is needed!!!! The upsetting part is that one particular article basically said that the youth is blind to the destruction of the community. As a youth myself, I am proud to say that the article was not speaking for all the JA community youths. Including the rest of my fellow friends in Project: Community! I too was further educated in the demise of a once grand Little Tokyo.
Did you know that Little Tokyo was once twice its size? Or that outside investors have came into the community and are buying property ,and have?! That when it is theirs, the fate of the property is in their hands to which it will most likely be turned into a profitable organization that has no regards to the community it is sheltered in? If you look at Little Tokyo you can see remnants of the past, on one side of the street you can see buildings that originate from the 50s, and then on the other side you can see 70s to now. It isn't like the community doesn't need to be invigorated with the new, but we are afraid of corporate takeover. We are afraid that the "little guys" will be smothered, that the businesses and people of Little Tokyo that have survived past the 50's will banish forever like so many others.
Today we can make a list of businesses that have vanished from Little Tokyo, of places which the generation of my grandmother can only remember. Two words: that sucks. But the good news is, step by step, we are making a comeback. Yeah baby! SUGOIIIIIII!!!
As most of us know, the Far East Cafe has made a comeback. The Far East has held many memories for all generations of Japanese Americans, but was sold in 2000, and then bought back around 2003. Some of you may also know this, but for those of you that don't, the community recently was able to buy property in Little Tokyo. The property is located across the street from the Japanese American National Museum, and its fate is now safely in our hands. Also a gold line on the metro will be built to transport people to Little Tokyo from various areas, which will bring in more people hopefully with the raising gas pries.
These are really landmark achievements for the community, but despite that, I believe that achievements are made all the time in the community. maybe not huge instant success victories, but they are definitely ones that, in time, will impact the community. Everyone who has given up their free time to attend and run all of the youth community programs around the nation to help their communities, yeah shout out to all of you. Shout out to them, because they are making a huge investment on the future, which is always unsure. But it is an investment that will make more youth involvement in the community more certain.
Aside from that, I'd have to say it is difficult to be as young as I am and be involved with the community, because when you are young as I am and involved in the with the community, because when you are young it is hard for your voice to be really heard and appreciated. I can e involved with as many programs as I want and write a million blogs, but that doesn't change Little Tokyo a bit the way I want it to. It can be frustrating, but I know that I am in the right direction and one day I will make a difference because I care to.