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Meet the Speakers of Mixed Multitudes: A Discussion about Identity in the US-Japan Community

Updated: Feb 18, 2021

We are excited to highlight the speakers of Mixed Multitudes: A Discussion about Identity in the US-Japan Community! This is the second webinar in our 2021 series, J-Talks: Strengthening Ties Through Dialogue, which is centered around the themes of identity, cultural understanding and leadership, as experienced by JET alumni and individuals with meaningful connections to Japan.

Mixed Multitudes (Thursday, February 18th from 7pm-8:45pm CST) will aim to cultivate connections between the U.S. and Japan by bringing together multiracial Japanese American/Nikkei speakers to explore their different experiences and help the attendees understand and navigate the concept of mixed race identity in both the U.S. and Japan.

RSVP required via Guestlist: Sign up here

Space is limited, register today!


Dr. Mitzi Uehara Carter (she/her)

Mitzi (she/her) is an Assistant Teaching Professor of Anthropology and East Asian Studies and is the Director of Global Indigenous Forum at Florida International University in Miami, FL. She served as a Fellow with the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science in Okinawa Japan (2011-12) at the University of the Ryukyus. She researches ethnographic methodology of militarization in Okinawa and transnational understandings of Blackness and race in Japan.

She is working on her first book which will trace her mother’s journey from war torn Okinawa to a racially segregated US South as a lens for capturing Black Okinawan life (and afterlives) in the “Black Pacific." Carter received her B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Duke University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology from UC Berkeley.

Joan Ambo (she/her)

Joan (she/her) is the Manager of Programs & Special Events who works to build community through programs and events at JASC (Japanese American Service Committee).

Joan believes in the importance of coming together, and that a community is sustained through its ability to be flexible and open. Joan holds a BFA from UIC and is an American Montessori Society certified Montessori Teacher.

Cori Nakamura Lin (she/her)

Cori (she/her) is a Midwest-based Taiwanese/Japanese illustrator who specializes in portraiture, food illustration, and culture-centered storytelling. In 2018 In 2018 she illustrated the first Midwestern Lao-American children's book, When Everything Was Everything, by poet Saymoukda Vongsay. Her work has been featured in the LA Times, Eater Chicago, WBEZ Chicago, and in numerous grassroots campaigns in Chicago and Minneapolis.

She is a member of Nikkei Uprising in Chicago with whom she organizes for the collective liberation of all people. She is the recipient of the Minnesota State Arts Board 2019 Cultural Community Partnership Grant, the Minnesota Regional Arts Council 2019 Community Arts Grant, 2018 Jerome Emerging Artist Tofte Lake Residency, and the CURA Artist Neighborhood Partnership Grant 2017-2018.

Jason Mattox (he/him)

Jason (he/him) is a Sansei Afro-Asian community person, waterfront Chicago native, tutor, first responder, and technician.

Jason is active in advocacy work as a Core Leader of the group A JUST CHI in Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Chicago. He is known for leading justice reform and action towards police accountability with organizations including Black Lives Matter Chicago. Jason has organized educational community defense programming, and also does work around Afro-Asian relations, and Asian anti-blackness in Chicago. Jason’s interests include international political economy, Afro-Asian relations, cultural studies, and the Black eastern diaspora.

Vinicius Taguchi (he/him)

Vinicius (he/him) is a shin-sansei with respect to when his grandfather moved from Sapporo, Japan to Brazil, but he is a shin-issei with respect to when he and his parents immigrated to North Carolina in 1996. Vinicius participated in the Kakehashi Project in 2015 and now serves on the executive board of the Twin Cities Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) chapter in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Recently, he organized and facilitated a series of virtual workshops challenging anti-Blackness in Japanese American communities, and is now broadening his chapter's collaborations with other community groups. Vinicius is also currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering at the University of Minnesota where he studies Stormwater Management and Green Infrastructure. Through his research, Vinicius is working to ensure that environmentally-friendly cities are also socially sustainable by partnering with community organizations to prevent green gentrification.


Lara (Zara) Espinoza (she/they)

Zara (she/they) is celebrating over a decade of active leadership and service to the Japan Exchange & Teaching (JET) Program community, which includes eight years working with the Consulate-General of Japan as an Officer in the JETAA Chicago. Zara spearheads strategic people initiatives in US-Japan space and has partnered with JETAA USA, Black Lives Matter Kansai, Tsuru for Solidarity, and is active in the nikkei LGBTQ+ community, Okaeri.

As a multicultural Wonder Woman, 'Japorexican', and JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion) Strategist, Zara is a known thought leader with her/their holistic approach to human resources that specializes in equitable design to guide systemic change in a variety of organizations, including Black Tech Jobs, Latinas in Tech, Built In, General Assembly, Ladies Get Paid, Blacks Excelling in Sales & Tech (BEST), LGBT Chamber of Commerce, Design Week PDX, Flatiron School, and University of Michigan. Zara has been recognized as a changemaker in the LGBTQ+ tech community as she/they were the first female non-binary person in the Chicago Leadership Team of the global LGBTQ+ technology non-profit Out in Tech.

RSVP required via Guestlist: Sign up here!

Follow our social media channels - Facebook & Instagram @jetaachicago for updates

This event is open to the public, including our fellow JET Alumni and our Friends of JET (FOJ). Thank you to the generous support of USJETAA and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA for sponsoring the first two webinars of the 2021 J-Talks: Strengthening Ties Through Dialogue, centered around the themes of identity, cultural understanding and leadership, as experienced by JET alumni and individuals with meaningful connections to Japan.

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