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- A graduate of the University of Oregon, Akiyama once considered pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology but was eventually drawn to the priesthood.
- She graduated from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, Calif. In 1989, she became the first Japanese American woman in the Episcopal church to be ordained to the priesthood.
- Akiyama previously served as the vicar at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Kapaau, Hawaii, and dean of Waiolaihui’ia School for Formation.
- The new bishop acknowledged that her consecration came at a critical time, saying she intends to seek unity through “hearty and heartfelt conversations where we listen to each other.”
- Roughly 110,000 men, women, and children of Japanese ancestry were rounded up and forced into concentration camps.
- During their incarceration, the family’s home and orchard in Hood River, Ore., were reportedly looted by neighbors.
- Akiyama’s family were only able to start rebuilding their lives upon their release from the prison camp.
- As a child, Akiyama would experience racial prejudice in elementary school from boys who yelled racist language at her and friends who did not invite her to birthday parties, reported Nichi Bei.
- Akiyama’s past gave her a unique perspective on approaching her role as bishop: become a “place and voice” for the marginalized.