Meet Esther Churchwell

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Esther Churchwell is the Membership Chair for NMJACL & the Editor of the organization’s newsletter, The Sagebrush Shinbun.

During the year, & for many years, she has served as our Program Coordinator, responsible for finding the talent & commitment within NM to participate in AkiMatsuri either on the Main Stage or in a booth. Additionally, on the morning of the festival Esther & a team of dedicated volunteers prepare a significant amount of traditional foods for sale that day.

At the festival, she staffs the Membership Booth with another team of volunteers who, under her leadership, answer membership & information queries, manage souvenir sales (posters, T- shirts, etc.), & the “Ginza Table,” where previously-owned items that are mainly, but not exclusively, Japanese, ranging from clothing & accessories to books, are sold.

She also performs on the Main Stage with the Okinawan Folk Dance group, having been a member of the Miyagi Ryu Okinawa Dancers for 9 years.


She has a master’s degree in counseling and is a recently retired disability adjudicator for the Social Security Administration. Her other community involvement include having been on the board of directors for the Asian American Association of NM, and of the Duke City Aquatics. Lately, she is a member of the JACL Players who have been bringing presentations of Readers Theater to sites throughout the state of NM that have had connections to the WWII experience e of Japanese Americans.

Meet the Team

Each member of the NMJACL Board offers a unique perspective and toolset which makes NMJACL such a well-rounded organization aiming to make a positive impact in the community.

Esther Churchwell

Membership Chair/Editor of the Sagebrush Newsletter

Calvin Kobayashi


Jennifer Yazawa

NMJACL Grant Writer

Nikki Nojima Louis

NMJACL Chair of Special Projects

Cynthia Grady

NMJACL Secretary/ Art Coordinator

Aiko Allen

Special Projects/ Grant Writer

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More Info

Learn more about non-profit organization NMJACL and all the upcoming events and special projects that are happening. We are always looking for future members and volunteers to help in our efforts to improve our community.

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