OUSD holds Asian Pacific Heritage Month forum on Tuesday, April 27

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Wade Nomura and Tommy Hattori are featured speakers at Ojai Unified School District’s online forum on Asian Pacific Heritage Month on Tuesday, April 27, at 6:30 p.m.

Members of the public can sign up to attend the online forum at: 

This is OUSD’s fourth in a series of community workshops on diversity, equity and inclusion called “Engage to Impact — A Place at the Table.”

Nomura is an international speaker and workshop leader. “Wade draws on his extraordinary experience as a global humanitarian, mayor of Carpinteria, successful businessman, author and champion athlete, to educate and inspire audiences around the world,” according to OUSD publicity about the event. 

“Tommy Hattori has worked in education for the past 17 years. He currently teaches math and science, runs a dorm, coaches football and lacrosse, and coordinates the global studies at The Thacher School He was born and raised in Monterey.”

— The first OUSD community workshop  on diversity, equity and inclusion was held on Jan. 18. It focused on “cultural proficiency.” 

The workshops are organized by the “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion” branch of a school district advisory group formed in November 2019 called the Guiding Coalition.


— The second community workshop on Feb. 24 featured popular speaker James Joyce III, founder of "Coffee With a Black Guy."

— The third community online panel discussion on March 22 was called “Empowering Women Past, Present and Future!” It featured Ojai Mayor Betsy Stix; Suz Montgomery, chair of the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council; and Senerey de los Santos, reporter and weekend sports anchor for KEYT NewsChannel 3.

The workshops are hosted by OUSD, which received a $20,000 grant last year as part of the state education September 2020 “End Hate” initiative to combat bias, bigotry and racism.

View news releases about the program at and and Dec. 4, 2020 OVN article.

While there are many definitions of “cultural proficiency,” they boil down to awareness of cultural influences on how we think and act.

 The outlined goals for the first “Engage to Impact: A Place at the Table” meeting on Jan. 18 were to:

"— Develop a common language and framework to increase our equity literacy skills.

"— Share strategies for effectively engaging challenging conversations across difference.

"— Clarify the role we all play in creating an inclusive and equitable school community where all students can blossom to their full potential."

At that meeting, Matthew Bolano, director of equity and inclusion at The Thacher School in Ojai, provided a slide show on diversity, equity and inclusion, with the following definitions:

— Diversity refers to:

“• Representation and all the ways we differ.

“• In a school community context, we are referring to social identity representation along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, age (dis)abilities, spiritual/religion, political beliefs and more.

“— Inclusion occurs when all community members are empowered, encouraged and free to bring their whole authentic selves ’to the table,' in order to create a community where all members can thrive and blossom to their full potential through a shared value of the richness of diverse ideas, backgrounds, and perspectives.

“— Equity involves a redistribution of resources and access and, according to the National Equity Project, ‘is the state that would be achieved if how one fares was no longer predictable by any social, cultural or economic factor.’”

Bolano's slide show can be downloaded from:

Another link provided at the Jan. 18 meeting is to a New York Times article on Smith College Professor Loretta J. Ross, who taught a popular class about combating cancel culture:

Members of the Guiding Coalition in the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion group are:

Lori Hamor, Jessica Mendiola, Catherine McKinnis, Bronwen Cull-Michaels, Kara Hooper, Alex Mejia-Holdsworth, Delores Johnson, Lisa Griffiths, Sheri Usher, OUSD Trustee Jane Weil, Shannon Hull, Kelly Stone.

To view the introduction to the Jan. 18 Engage to Impact: Place at the Table meeting, visit: