How does the past influence your present?: NY/SC Digital Storytelling Competition

This summer, the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) National Youth/Student Council (NY/SC) is excited to introduce our Digital Storytelling competition. 

We know that storytelling has always been important, particularly for Japanese and Asian Americans. Much of our community history is recorded orally or passed down through personal archives, and in the present moment it is especially important that we take note of our experiences, memories, thoughts, and feelings. This competition is designed to uplift young JACL voices and use our stories, whether they be present or historical, to build connections with one another in times of physical distance. 

Using one of five mediums–journalistic-style essay, visual art, video presentation, poetry, or creative writing–we ask youth participants to send in their stories, with the theme of How does the past influence your present

We encourage entrants to be creative in their approach to the theme. How has the past–be it your personal, familial, national, or other histories–shaped your current experience? How has it formed your identity or perception of self? How will it continue to shape your future? 

You may interpret the prompt as freely as you’d like. In reviewing submissions, members of the National Youth/ Student Council will be evaluating based on the following attributes:

  • Creativity
    • Does the submission exhibit an imaginative or innovative way of thinking?
  • Adherence to the Theme
    • Does the submission bridge elements of the past with the present in a clear and coherent manner?
  • Clarity of Story
    • Is the storyline of the submission clear and easy to understand? 
  • Quality of Submission  
    • Does the artist avail of all of their resources to produce their story?

The competition submission form can be found here and at the bottom of this page and will open June 28th, running until August 15th. The competition is open to all youth ages 13-30, no prior experience necessary. The top two entries will receive:

  • Recognition in the Pacific Citizen, our JACL newsletter; 
  • Publication online, both on the National Youth/Student Council site and the JACL National site;
  • An expenses-covered opportunity to attend the 2021 JACL National Convention in Las Vegas to present their work. 

If you have any questions, please contact NY/SC Youth Representative Mieko Kuramoto at mkuramoto@jacl.org . We look forward to seeing your submissions!