About the New Mexico Chapter

Founded in 1929, the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) is the nation’s largest and oldest Asian Pacific American civil rights organization in the United States. The JACL is a member-driven organization of over 10,000 committed members spanning over 100 chapters nationwide. The JACL strives to promote a world that honors diversity by respecting the values of fairness, equality, and social justice.

The mission of the JACL is to:

“…To secure and maintain the civil rights of Japanese Americans and all others who are victimized by injustice and bigotry. The leaders and members of the JACL also work to promote cultural, educational and social values and preserve the heritage and legacy of the Japanese American community. The JACL monitors and responds to issues that enhance or threaten the civil and human rights of all Americans and implements strategies to effect positive social change, particularly to the Asian Pacific American community.”

The NEW MEXICO JAPANESE AMERICAN CITIZENS LEAGUE (NMJACL) traces its origins to 1947 with the formation of the Albuquerque Nisei1 Club. The Albuquerque Nisei Club was an organization of fifteen Japanese American families from Albuquerque, Gallup, and the surrounding areas that focused initially on social and cultural activities.

As additional Nisei families relocated to New Mexico in the early 1950’s, the club affiliated with the National Japanese-American Citizens League (JACL), becoming the Albuquerque (NM) Chapter of the JACL. The organization extended its mission to promote the civil and human rights of ALL people and provided social and cultural support to the small number of families of Japanese ancestry in New Mexico.

However, the new incarnation of the JACL NM chapter was not to be long-lived. In 1956, due to a confluence of shifting times, out-of-state relocations, military commitments, and a variety of family, business, and work obligations the New Mexico chapter of the JACL became inactive and would remain so for two decades.

In 1976, with the encouragement and guidance of former JACL members, the New Mexico Japanese American Citizens League (NMJACL) reactivated with the leadership of three Sansei2. Since then, the chapter has remained strong and active in the local community.

The mission of the New Mexico Japanese American Citizens League is to promote, protect, and fight for the civil and human rights of ALL PEOPLE in and outside of New Mexico. The NMJACL recognizes the importance of education and, following New Mexico’s multicultural traditions, promotes the awareness of the Japanese culture in the community. The NMJACL actively works with the community to promote the brother/sisterhood of all cultures in New Mexico.

Membership in NMJACL is open to all individuals and groups, with non-Japanese members holding leadership positions on the Board of Directors, including the presidency. Members of the Japanese American Citizens League strive to be “Better Americans in a Greater America.”

  • Nisei1 = Second generation Japanese-American
  • Sansei2 = Third generation Japanese-American