Board of Directors
The Amache Alliance is overseen by its Board of Directors led by Mitch Homma and Kirsten Leong, both descendants of Amache incarcerees. The all-volunteer Board and Special Advisors includes descendants, scholars, and other local and national professionals from across the country.
President, Mitch Homma
Mitch Homma is a sansei and works as an aerospace engineer. He is an Amache descendant who had three generations of family incarcerated at the WWII Granada Relocation Center in Colorado. He volunteers with the Amache Historical Society II (AHS II), coordinates their newsletter, and supports several Amache preservation projects. As Vice President of the Board of Managers for the American Baptist Historical Society (ABHS), he has worked on several history related educational and preservation projects. Volunteer ABHS executive committee responsibilities include strategic plan development and professional standards guidelines for intellectual property protection.
Vice President, Dr. Kirsten Leong
Kirsten Leong is a Yonsei and Amache descendant of the Sameshima and Omori families. She is one of the founding members of the Amache Historical Society II, updates the website Amache.org, and distributes newsletters. Kirsten was instrumental in spearheading the Amache Virtual Pilgrimage program. Kirsten has volunteered for the DU Field School and represented the Amache organizations in the Japanese American Confinement Sites Consortium. In her day job, she is a social scientist for NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center in Honolulu, Hawai‘i and is a member of the Hawai‘i and Pacific Islands Regional Network of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Kirsten's past work experience includes working for the National Park Service in Fort Collins, CO.
Secretary, Dana Ogo Shew
Dana Ogo Shew serves as a Staff Archaeologist, Oral Historian, and Interpretive Specialist at the Anthropological Studies Center at Sonoma State University in California. She specializes in projects that research, preserve, and share stories about the Japanese American experience, especially those related to WWII Japanese American incarceration. She earned a MA in archaeology from the University of Denver where she researched the lives of women at Amache. Dana has family ties to Topaz War Relocation Center, where she has done informal archaeological surveys and will be conducting formal archaeological investigations this summer. She is working on updating the Amache Interpretive Plan and supports AHS II on many projects.
Treasurer, Stephanie Stone
Stephanie Stone is a retired software/systems engineer. As a software developer, project lead, database architect, and systems interface manager, her projects led to national intelligence advancements. Her technology and finance skills have been utilized on several non-profit projects. She grew up in the southeast and was not taught anything about the WWII Japanese American experience. She has been involved with the Amache community since 2008 and visited Japan multiple times supporting research.
Compliance Officer, Dr. April Kamp-Whittaker
April Kamp-Whittaker (PhD) is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of New Mexico, Department of Anthropology and Co-Field Director of the University of Denver Amache Project. Her research at Amache has focused on the archaeology of community and the development of social networks and neighborhoods. She has worked on historical and prehistoric projects across the U.S. and tries to find new ways to connect audiences to archaeology through public presentations, exhibits, and curriculum. Her publications include works on the archaeology of institutional confinement, the archaeology of childhood, and historic urbanism.
Director, John Tonai
John grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles, California. He is an artist and educator, served as a professor of Art at the University of Northern Colorado and the University of Sioux Falls. Having earned a BA in History from the University of Sioux Falls and a MFA from the University of Minnesota, he combines these two in his work, which is primarily concerned with the experiences of the Japanese Americans both historically and in contemporary
society. His work has been shown at the Japanese American National Museum and National Japanese American Historical Society. John has long been involved with Amache through the Amache Historical Society II, and he is a descendant of Amache incarcerees.
Special Advisory Council
Amache survivor & Community Leader
NPCA Colorado Program Manager
Amache Descendant & City of Denver Dir. of Human Rights & Community Relations
Amache survivor & Educator
Nonprofit Grant Manager
Amache Descendant & Executive Director National Japanese American Historical Society
Carlene Tanigoshi Tinker
Amache survivor & Educator
Dr. Bonnie Clark
Univ. of Denver Anthropology Professor & DU Amache Project
Erin Tsurumoto Grassi
Amache Descendant & Policy Director at Alliance San Diego