From City of San Antonio Economic Development Department, May 12, 2016
During City Council today, 17 community partners successfully kicked-off fundraising efforts to help San Antonio’s sister city of Kumamoto, Japan. Kumamoto was recently hit by multiple devastating earthquakes that led to incredible infrastructure damage and the loss of 49 lives with thousands injured. This natural disaster led to the community coming together to raise funds to help San Antonio’s sister city in its time of need.
“It is heartbreaking what happened to Kumamoto,” said Mayor Ivy R. Taylor. “But the warm and passionate response from many of our community partners who want to help our sister city is a testament to the bond that has united our two cities for almost 30 years."
District 6 Councilman Ray Lopez who used a point of personal privilege to announce the fundraising efforts said: “I have led multiple economic development trade missions to Japan and the culture there is one that stands close with family, which is similar to the culture we have in San Antonio. As a sister city to Kumamoto, we are family, and as such, I hope that our citizens will consider giving to this cause.”
Led by the Japan-America Society of San Antonio (JASSA), funds will be used to help 1) the victims and survivors of the earthquake, 2) rebuild Kumamoto’s infrastructure and 3) help rebuild the Kumamoto Castle, a landmark that has relevance to our sister city akin to the Alamo in San Antonio.
"In the wake of the earthquake disaster in and around Kumamoto City, San Antonio organizations, such as JASSA, are rallying to raise funds to help provide relief to the citizens of Kumamoto and to help reconstruct and rebuild damaged areas,” said JASSA President Martha Fabrique. “JASSA is happy to help lead the fundraising efforts; any donation provided by San Antonians means so much to help support our Japanese sister city."
On behalf of Bexar County, Judge Nelson Wolff provided words of support to the cause: "Bexar County has a deep relationship with Japan. We are appreciative of the corporate and social investments they have made in San Antonio, but the fact is these investments would have never happened without our Sister City, Kumamoto. The Commissioners Court stands ready to partner with JASSA and do our part to support all those affected."
The first major contributor to this effort was also announced; Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas, Inc. (TMMTX), which donated $25,000 to the cause.
“As a proud member of the San Antonio community, Toyota is committed to the people of Kumamoto. It is important that we show our sister city love and support from their San Antonio family as they rebuild,” said TMMTX Vice President of Administration David Crouch.
Other community partners that are helping with these fundraising efforts include: the City of San Antonio, Bexar County, Musical Bridges Around the World, the Alamo Asian American Chamber of Commerce (AAACC), the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, the University of the Incarnate Word, the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, the San Antonio Botanical Garden, the San Antonio River Authority, the East Asia Institute - University of Texas at San Antonio, the Bexar County Medical Society, the Naoko Shirane Memorial, the San Antonio Japanese Companies Association, Japanese Supplementary School of San Antonio, Our Lady of the Lake University and URBAN-15.
Secretary Henry Cisneros who signed the sister city agreement with Kumamoto in 1987 as San Antonio Mayor expressed his support: "Our Sister City with Kumamoto was the first step in a long-term international strategy. Given the continuing blessings this relationship has bestowed upon our community, we wholeheartedly support the Kumamoto Earthquake Relief Fund recalling the words of Kumamoto Mayor Tajiri, ‘When you drink the water, remember who dug the well.’ "
To donate to this effort, visit JASSA’s website at www.jas-sa.org.