Introducing our Regional Executive: Dr Kathy Yamashita

Dr Kathy Yamashita
Dr Kathy Yamashita (at right) with daughters and grandchildren.

I was born in Taber, Alberta in 1950, just one year after Japanese Canadians were finally given the right to vote.
The racism against Japanese people was heightened by the outbreak of the Pacific theatre of World War II. In 1942 the Canadian Government enacted the War Measures Act which allowed the arrest and relocation of about 30,000 of my people, most of whom were born in Canada. Although the war ended in 1945, the Japanese were not allowed to return to the West Coast until 1949.
My parents decided to stay in Southern Alberta where they had been sent as families to work on the sugar beet farms. The United Church of Canada sent Rev. Jun Kabayama to minister to the Japanese farm workers. He would lead worship services in peoples’ homes. This was the beginning of the Southern Alberta Japanese United Church in Lethbridge, which is my home church. I feel obligated to acknowledge this heritage when I speak of my life.
I am a family doctor, a grandmother, a church lay leader, a Star Wars fan and a strong believer in following the example of Jesus Christ in our world today. We may not be able to make big changes in the world, but if everyone makes a small change for good, then the world will become the best it can be.
I have two daughters of whom I am immensely proud. The photograph was taken on Palm Sunday after a family dinner. The Mamas and all the grandchildren are in the photo. I am a happy human.