Lorene Oikawa

Lorene Oikawa is a Yonsei, fourth generation, British Columbian whose family migrated from Japan in the 1800’s and 1906. She is Chair of the Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens' Association Human Rights Committee and is the founder of the Asian Canadian Labour Alliance in BC. Lorene has authored articles and been a spokesperson on a range of topics including women in leadership, human rights, migrant workers, social media, and labour history. 

Updated November 2014

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Crónicas Nikkei #3—Nombres Nikkei: ¿Taro, John, Juan, João?

What’s in My Name? A Big River and Lots of Family Stories

Lorene is my first name. My mother chose my name for me. She liked the sound of the name, but not its typical spelling “Laureen” so she says she changed it. It wasn’t a familiar name especially in classrooms where most girls had names like Cathy, Susan, and Cindy. Most people thought it was a boy’s name and would pronounce it like Lorne or if they knew it was a girl’s name they would say Lauren. My last name Oikawa was even less familiar, and most people would not even attempt to say it. They would look at their lists in confusion. Those who did attempt to say it…

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