Sunday 19th November 2017,

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Japanese American woman leads dinosaur herd that invaded Washington

posted by Ed Diokno
Japanese American woman leads dinosaur herd that invaded Washington

By Ed Diokno

Views From the Edge

In the morning of Aug. 30, Washington, DC commuters and government officials were greeted by an unprecedented number of dinosaurs to tell Congress to stop the extinction of the Peace Corps and Americorps.

Wha’? you say? Dinosaurs? Aren’t they extinct?

Exactly! That was the point that the demonstrating dino’s wanted to make.

The campaign was in response to Donald Trump’s 2018 budget proposal which threatens to eliminate national service programs like AmeriCorps and outlines the largest cut to the Peace Corps by a president in 40 years.

The hundreds of dinosaurs and national service advocates were present at eight locations across the nation’s capitol including Dupont Circle, the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, and Union Station. The morning ended with a record number of dinosaurs rallying at the U.S. Capitol.

“While dinosaurs are fun — national service extinction is a serious matter,” said Shirley Sagawa, CEO of Service Year Alliance, which organized the attention-grabbing  demonstration.

“National service advocates made themselves known to Congress and the entire DC community this morning. As the Senate sits down to markup the FY18 budget next week, we encourage them to listen to the folks who gathered outside the Capitol and expand national service instead of letting it go extinct.”

Sagawa is one of those unsung people working tirelessly in government and the nonprofit sector who you don’t hear about but suddenly appear in the news because of the appearance of dinosaurs. After reading her bio, you wonder why the American public doesn’t know more about this Japanese American woman.

Sagawa, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Hidetaka Sagawa or Brockport, N.Y., is Service Year Alliance’s president and CEO and founder of the Service Year Exchange, the technology platform for full-time, full-year service now run by Service Year Alliance.

Prior to becoming founding CEO of Service Year Alliance, she developed social innovation policy, authored reports, and advised national organizations and foundations on strategy as a partner with sagawa/jospin.
Sagawa served as a presidential appointee in both the first Bush and Clinton administrations. As Deputy Chief of Staff to First Lady Hillary Clinton, she advised the First Lady on domestic policy and led the planning for White House Conferences on Philanthropy, Partnerships in Philanthropy, and Teenagers.  She drafted the AmeriCorps legislation and helped lead the start up of the Corporation for National and Community Service for President Bill Clinton.
For President George H. W. Bush, she helped to start and served as vice chair of the Commission on National and Community Service.
With advanced degrees in law and public policy, she began her career as the Chief Counsel for Youth Policy for the Senate Labor Committee, specializing in education, children’s, and youth issues, and subsequently served as senior counsel to the National Women’s Law Center, and on many nonprofit boards.
The Smith graduate is the author, with Deb Jospin, of three books: The Charismatic Organization, and a previous books, Common Interest, Common Good: Creating Value through Business and Social Sector Partnerships and The American Way to Change.
She has been named a “Woman to Watch in the 21st Century,” by Newsweek magazine, and one of the “Most Influential Working Mothers in America” by Working Mother magazine.
She drafted the AmeriCorps legislation and helped lead the start up of the Corporation for National and Community Service for President Bill Clinton. For President George H. W. Bush, she helped to start and served as vice chair of the Commission on National and Community Service.

But, back to the dinosaurs.

Congress has just reconvened for the Fall and must approve a budget by Sept. 30 or face a government shutdown. In light of DACA, Trumpcare, a new infrastructure proposal, a new tax plan to benefit the top 1%, the Muslim travel ban, finding funding to help victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and other unforeseen natural disasters and – of course – that Darn Wall, it would be easy to lose sight of budget items for  programs that encourage young people to help others.

“If President Trump’s budget becomes reality,” said Sagawa, “the 80,000 young people who serve every year won’t be responding to natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey, teaching in our underperforming schools, supporting our veterans, maintaining our national parks, or tackling issues like the opioid epidemic and unemployment.”
If a herd of dinosaurs converging on the Capitol doesn’t grab the attention of Congress and the Trump administration, you wonder what will.
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