Guest Presenters for JUST LOVE: Japanese American Forced Incarceration on Feb. 21, 2021

February 10, 2021
Guest Presenters on Sunday, February 21 for JUST LOVE


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.


Diane Johnson 
Member of Broomfield UMC

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.

Sheila Sunada Newlin
Member of Riverton UMC

Sheila Sunada Newlin and her husband Doug are members of the United Methodist Church in Riverton, Wyoming. Sheila's grandparents from Los Angeles were incarcerated at Heart Mountain. Her mother escaped to North Dakota, her father joined the 442, and an uncle from Heart Mountain helped to rescue prisoners at Dachau. Sheila was born in Denver. She has an MEd from Utah State University. She has taught English and Special Education in Oregon, Utah, Montana, Wyoming and the Peace Corps in Papua New Guinea. Sheila's special interests include travel, learning about diverse cultures and ideas, and taking her therapy dog and therapy cat to schools and care facilities.  


Dakota Russell
Executive Director, Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation

Dakota Russell is Executive Director of the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation. Previously, Russell spent 15 years with Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites, where his work in interpretation and cultural resource management took him everywhere from Native American village sites to frontier homesteads to Civil War battlefields. Russell believes that history benefits from a plurality of voices, and throughout his career has worked to ensure that diverse viewpoints and the stories of marginalized groups are better represented on the cultural landscape.

Stacey L. Shigaya
Program Director of Sakura Square LLC and Sakura Foundation

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.  


Mrs. Midori Takeuchi
Consul-General of Japan in Denver and member of Simpson UMC

Mrs. Midori Takeuchi is the Consul-General of Japan in Denver and a member of Simpson United Methodist Church. She will be participating in the panel discussions and brings extensive knowledge and experience in Japanese American relationships. 

She is a graduate of Keio University, Faculty of Law, specializing in Political Science. Takeuchi joined the ministry of Foreign Affairs as a language and area specialist. She has risen in position and served in various cities in the U.S. including Vice Consul, Consulate General of Japan in New York. She served as deputy director for domestic public relations, for the internal energy division, for the first North American Division, plus several additional senior level positions on her way to the position of Consul-General, Consulate General of Japan in Denver.

Takeuchi closed her 2021 letter to constituents on the Consulate website with this:

“Over these past months, many events and activities have been transformed to virtual events as we have taken advantage of technology to sustain our daily work and life. To make the best of this situation, I will engage fully with the things that we can do successfully now. Further, I am determined to learn deeply about the history, people and institutions of this region, to strengthen our relations and cooperation between us even more. Together with my staff in the office, I look forward to raising the visibility of Japan and to working with you all toward growing U.S.-Japan relations in this new era.” 


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.