History

Over the years, AAJA Sacramento has been fortunate to be led by dedicated leaders who have worked hard to advance our mission of diversity and inclusion.

AAJA Sacramento was founded in 1985, the fourth chapter to join what is now an organization of more than 1,600 members in 20 chapters across the United States and Asia.

AAJA Sacramento has been recognized with several national AAJA awards, including Chapter of the Year in 2006 and 2010; Sandy Louey named Chapter President of the Year in 2013; and Pamela Wu selected as Member of the Year in 2015.

Chapter history

1985
October 6

How it all began

The first AAJA Sacramento gathering was an informal meeting at Sacramento Bee reporter Judy Tachibana’s home.
October 6

Original board and chapter members

From left to right: Janice Torres, Sandra Gin, unidentified, board member Edd Fong, board member Corrine Fat, Bob Nishizaki, Sharon Ito, board member Lonnie Wong, chapter president Judy Tachibana, Tony Acosta, Barbara Takei, and board member Sydney Kohara.
1986
February 1

First project

A media guide first written and edited by Bill Sing with the Los Angeles Times and Karen Lee in 1982 was revised for the Sacramento area by members of AAJA Sacramento and the California Chicano News Media Association. The new guide was printed by The Sacramento Bee.
March 22

First community media workshop

The event was held at Sacramento City College.
May 3

First student outreach program

The event offered career tips and was held at Sacramento City College.
June 7

First scholarship awards banquet

The event was held at the Woodlake Inn in Sacramento, and featured Lupita Aquino-Kashiwahara, sister of the slain Philippine opposition leader Benigno Aquino, Jr.
1987
June 6

Chapter commended by Sacramento City Council

June 6

Second annual scholarship awards banquet

“Actor Sab Shimono is one of Sacramento’s own. A graduate of Sacramento High School, Shimono first studied medicine at UC Berkeley before he realized that acting was in his blood.” (excerpt from event program)
1988
June 16

Third annual scholarship awards banquet

The event was held at the Sheraton Sunrise in Rancho Cordova.
1989
June 27

Pat Morita Homecoming Dinner

AAJA Sacramento was among the sponsors for “A Sacramento Homecoming” for Pat Morita to mark the release of his film, The Karate Kid, Part III. The first event was a dinner at the Sutter Club. Morita’s family owned the Ariake Chop Suey restaurant in Sacramento.
June 28

The Karate Kid, Part III benefit premiere

On behalf of Columbia Pictures, Sacramento mayor Anne Rudin, presented a surprise birthday gift to Pat Morita at the premiere: keys to a new Ford F250 Lariat truck. Proceeds from the three events went to AAJA Sacramento, Adult Buddhist Association and Sacramento Asian Community Resources/Asian Legal Services Outreach.
June 28

Pat Morita film reception and birthday party

The third part of the Pat Morita “Sacramento Homecoming” was a film reception that also served as a celebration for the actor’s 57th birthday — also on June 28.
1990
July 27

Fifth anniversary celebration

At the Kyoto Restaurant. Michael Toshiyuki Uno had just finished directing the pilot episode of a new Fox TV series, “Beverly Hills 90210” prior to his appearance in Sacramento.
1992
June 20

Riverboat cruise

The seventh annual Scholarship Awards were held on the paddlewheel river boat, The Matthew McKinley, which plied the Sacramento River. A buffet dinner was served.
1994
September 18

AAJA Sacramento and AAJA San Francisco chapters go rafting

The two chapters took a whitewater rafting trip on the south fork of the American River in Sacramento.
1995
March 24

Hitting the slopes at Northstar Ski Resort

Pictured: Lonnie Wong, Cynthia Gouw, Mark Morodomi and Ben Wong.
April 18

Connie Chung benefit luncheon

Connie Chung was in Sacramento to anchor the “CBS Evening News” and to promote CBS affiliate KOVR-13 at the time of the luncheon. Chung would leave CBS one month later. The benefit also celebrated the chapter’s 10th anniversary.
1996
June 1

Tribute to pioneers in journalism

KCBS-TV (Burbank) anchor Tritia Toyota served as the keynote speaker at the event, which celebrated (national) AAJA’s 15th anniversary. Four local pioneers were honored: Lonnie Wong (Fox 40 News), Judy Tachibana (Sacramento Bee), Gay Lum (Sacramento Bee), and K.W. Lee (Sacramento Union).
June 1

AAJA leaders celebrate 15th anniversary

Back row: Lisa Chung, former AAJA executive director, Lonnie Wong, Jeannie Wong, Randall Yip, Kimberly Moy, Cynthia Gouw. Front row: David Ono, Tritia Toyota, AAJA executive director Sandra Michioku, and Sharon Ito.
June 2

AAJA member of the year

Kimberly Moy, a reporter at the Sacramento Bee, was named AAJA member of the year at the national convention in the Twin Cities of Minnesota.
2002
August 7

AAJA member of the year

Sandy Louey, a senior reporter at the Sacramento Bee, was named AAJA member of the year at the Dallas convention in 2002.
2005
October 24

20th anniversary celebration

The chapter’s 20th anniversary celebration was held at KVIE’s studios.
2006
June 21

AAJA chapter of the year

The Sacramento chapter was awarded chapter of the year at the national convention in Honolulu.
August 7

Talk with photojournalist Laura Pohl

The talk was held at the Eleanor McClatchy Center.
October 16

First chefs showcase

The fundraiser featured chefs Wei Ming Deng of Frank Fat’s Restaurant, Mai Pham of Lemongrass Restaurant, and Brandon Sakamoto of Mikuni Japanese Restaurant Group. It was held at the KVIE studios.
2007
October 22

First photo showcase and silent auction

A total of 27 photos were featured in the first auction, with 13 from The Sacramento Bee. The fundraiser was held at the 20th St. Art Gallery.
2010
June 1

First AAJA Sacramento-sponsored intern at the Sacramento Bee

Matt Kawahara, a Sacramento native and UC Berkeley graduate, would later join the paper’s staff as a full time sports writer, covering baseball.
August 5

AAJA chapter of the year

  Chapter co-presidents Judy Lin and Pamela Wu were presented with the award at the national convention in Hollywood. The chapter donated $25,000 to AAJA that year to help reduce the national organization’s budget deficit. AAJA Sacramento also challenged other chapters to match its gift.
October 4

25th anniversary celebration

The chapter benefit, a photo showcase and silent auction, was held at the 20th Street Art Gallery.
2013
August 22

Chapter President of the year

Sandy Louey, Information Officer at the California Energy Commission.
2014
June 5

Data journalism workshop

AAJA Sacramento teamed up with ONA (Online News Association) Sacramento to hold a data analysis workshop with Phillip Reese, a computer–assisted reporting specialist at The Sacramento Bee. The workshop was held at the Bee‘s office.
2015
April 6

Student outreach at UC Davis

The luncheon featured Naomi Lee, a producer at KCRA, Judy Lin, a reporter with the Associated Press, and Ryan Yamamoto, a sports reporter and anchor with News10.
April 30

Student outreach at Sacramento State

The luncheon focused on transitioning from college into the journalism workforce and featured News10 multimedia Web producer Maneez Iqbal, Sacramento Bee city editor Kevin Yamamura, and KCRA anchor/reporter Kathy Park.
August 13

AAJA Member of the Year

Pamela Wu, Director of Marketing and Communications at the UC Davis School of Law, was awarded member of the year at the AAJA national convention in San Francisco.
October 6

30th anniversary celebration

The fundraiser was held at the Elliott Fouts Gallery and featured Kevin O’Connor, chef at Saddle Rock, and Billy Ngo, chef and owner of Kru Contemporary Japanese Cuisine and Fish Face.
October 6

Lonnie Wong presented with service award

Lonnie Wong, FOX40 reporter, was recognized for three decades of service to the Asian Pacific Islander community at the celebration.
October 6

Chapter presidents honored

Chapter presidents of AAJA Sacramento were recognized in the program book for the 30th anniversary celebration.
2016
July 26

Chapter members debut documentary

Longtime AAJA Sacramento members Ryan Yamamoto and Suzanne Phan were on hand for the premiere of their documentary, “Arnold Knows Me — The Tommy Kono Story” at KVIE. Kono was a Sacramento weightlifting Olympian who learned the sport while he was at the Tule Lake Internment Camp.