FREDRICK D. KAKINAMI CLOYD is an independent scholar-artist-performer-anti-oppression activist whose work focuses on unraveling forces that interplay between history and the individual in relation to social change. He was born in Japan shortly after the official U.S. Occupation of Japan to a Japanese mother and African-American father in the U.S. military. Cloyd has been published in such publications as Kartika Review, Oakland Word, Nikkei Heritage, and The Pacific Reader, as well as featured on various radio and television programs and interviews. His poetry has been featured at the Japanese National Historical Society and his presentations have been featured in various Asian-American, social justice, Queer-of-Color, Mixed-race, and African-American history websites and publications and has been a public speaker and performer for four decades. He received his Masters in Social-Cultural Anthropology and Social Transformation. In 2017, Fredrick's essay: “On Being a Black-Japanese Amerasian Being,” was published by 2Leaf Press in the anthology: The Beiging of America: Personal Narratives About Being Mixed Race in the 21st Century. His first book: Dream of the Water Children: Memory and Mourning in the Black Pacific, was released by the same publisher in New York in Spring 2018.
Shannon Takushi was born and raised in Manila, Philippines where she grew up speaking English and Japanese. Her background growing up in a multi-cultural environment has molded Shannon’s interests in cultural diplomacy, cross-cultural relations, and communications. She has a BA in International Relations and Economics from the University of Richmond and a Master’s in Public Diplomacy from the University of Southern California. Currently Shannon enjoys promoting the US-Japan relationship at her job as Chief of Staff of the USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Cultures. Together with Duncan Williams, Shannon played a major role in bringing mixed-race Japanese people together at the Hapa Japan Festival in Los Angeles.