Guest Presenters for JUST LOVE: Generational Trauma on Feb. 28, 2021

February 11, 2021

Guest Presenters on Sunday, February 28 for JUST LOVE: Generational Trauma

Rev. Leah Coleman Senior Pastor Simpson UMC

Pastor Coleman serves as the Senior Pastor of Simpson UMC, in Arvada, Colorado. The congregation is comprised of many members of Japanese American descent. The church strives to honor, support and share Japanese and Japanese American member cultural legacies. She believes in listening, recognizing the needs of others and creating a safe environment for voices to be heard. Coleman helps others see and experience grace in our world and provides encouragement that results in action to share love and grace with others.

Coleman is active with Conference social justice concerns and serves on the Just Love planning team. She will host the Lenten series and will moderate panel discussions. Coleman attended Iliff School of Theology and received her mDIV in 2015.


Gil Asakawa (he/him/his)
Chair, Denver Takayama Sister City Committee 
Cultural Communications, Editorial & Social Media

Gil Asakawa is the volunteer chair of the Denver Takayama Sister City Committee, a part of Denver Sister Cities international. Asakawa is also a cultural communications consultant, who began writing it in 1998 for a bilingual Japanese community newspaper (now long gone) in Denver, but from the start posted the columns online. In 2006, Nikkei View evolved into the blog    (a where he writes long and short pieces, posts videos, rants, raves, whatever, to take advantage of the blog format and built-in archiving.

As a journalist he has also contributed to AARP, Westword, Huffpost, the University of Colorado, and others. For a decade Awakawa was the student media manager at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He managed the student-run university news website and CU news in the journalism program at CU’s College of Media, Communication and Information. He is a professional journalist, social media specialist and a consultant on emerging technologies. He also has an outstanding reputation as an expert in the arts and Japanese American advocacy in the Denver community.


Diane Johnson

Diane Johnson has been a member of Broomfield United Methodist Church for 37 years. She has been active in the music ministry, Lift Bible Study, United Methodist Women, and leader of Faith Links. The Faith Links Sunday School class focuses on social concerns and social justice issues.

Diane has taught instrumental music for 31 years in Kansas City, Kansas; Olathe, Kansas and Boulder, Colorado.



Stacey L. Shigaya
Program Director, Sakura Foundation and member of Simpson UMC

A native of Denver, Colorado, Stacey Shigaya is Program Director for both Sakura Square LLC and its sole owner, Sakura Foundation.  She is the proud mother of two adult children who bring joy and meaning to her life.  Stacey places great value on opportunities to contribute to her community.  She is an active member of Simpson United Methodist Church, whose multicultural congregation is deeply rooted in the Japanese American culture and experience. She currently serves as co-chair of Simpson’s Ad Council and is Chair of the Cultural Team. She is also a member of Japan America Society of Colorado, Denver-Takayama Sister City Committee, Mile High Japanese American Citizens League, Japanese American Resource Center of Colorado, and the Asian Chamber of Commerce. Stacey is Board Secretary for PFLAG Denver and an active member of Okaeri Connects!, and the Women’s Commission of the City and County of Denver.

Both of Stacey’s parents, along with 120,000 others of Japanese ancestry, were sent to concentration camps during WWII.  Due in large part to the experiences that her parents endured, she has great respect for upholding justice, identifying and fighting discrimination, and bringing more compassion and sense of responsibility to our community.  


Marge Taniwaki
Community Leader and Activist

Marge Taniwaki was incarcerated for the first four years of her life at Manzanar near Death Valley in California, one of ten U.S. concentration camps for those of Japanese ancestry during WWII. At the end of the war, she and her family were "relocated" to Colorado, away from their pre-war home in Los Angeles. She is a long-time community activist involved in the restoration and preservation of the Amache concentration camp in southeastern Colorado, as well as the reuniting of Central American children separated from their parents at the southern border by the U.S. government.