(I’m often asked to share a personal story in my editorials. Here’s one I remember fondly.)

I had to make one hundred basketball shots a day the summer after I turned 13. It was my mom’s idea. She’d sit on the weathered porch of our Mukilteo home, peeling an orange or seated on an exercise bike, pedaling away inside the house, perched near a window, while she avidly watched me. Earlier, my dad and brothers set up a brand new basketball hoop in our driveway. My mom thought it a perfect opportunity to improve her daughter. And, to clarify, that wasn’t to shoot a hundred baskets; it was to make a hundred baskets – in a row – otherwise, I had to start over. I saw many suns set behind the backboard and often shot through the night to make the quota. Sometimes, the court lit up only by the dim shine from a porch light. My mom had the notion that if I played basketball, I’d get taller. “You stretch! Shoot ball, stretch body!” she’d exclaim. I don’t think I got any taller, but I learned to stretch my dreams and shoot high.

A man shooting for the stars is Conrad Lee, the first Asian American mayor of Bellevue. In an interview with the IE, Lee shares his dreams for the booming city he inherits and what role the diverse community of Bellevue will have in the Northwest’s future.

This is a landmark season for the Japanese American community, which commemorates the 70th anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 – the racist order propelled from the attack on Pearl Harbor that forced thousands of Japanese Americans to evacuate immediately from their homes into internment camps.

This year also marks the 25th anniversary of a pivotal civil rights case where Seattle native Gordon Hirabayashi challenged the U.S. military orders for JA internment, believing the forced removal was unconstitutional. Gary Iwamoto served on the legal team to represent Hirabayashi. In this issue, Iwamoto reflects back on the unprecedented case.

Unprecedented today are the potential cuts to people’s healthcare access. In a partnership with local community leaders concerned about the Governor’s proposed budget, the IE is publishing part II of an analysis investigating the impact to real people if the cuts come to pass – and why it’s important to make a stand today.

Enjoy another special issue of the IE. And don’t forget – as I learned in my lesson of making a hundred basketball shots — it’s ok not to excel at an entire sport, as long as you spend your life shooting for something.

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