Nobuko has been involved in political activism since 2008 when Obama first ran for president. As part of the Chicago Lawyers for Obama, she drove to one of the reddest counties in Indiana and worked as an election monitor for the campaign and, in 2012, registered voters in Iowa for President Obama’s reelection campaign. She visited a homeless shelter in Iowa and registered a number of people there including an African-American veteran who wanted to vote for Obama in 2008 but could not because he was not registered to vote then.
She has been a precinct committeeperson since 2013, first as an appointed PC for York 96 and later as an elected PC for York 57, and has been serving in the positing of Secretary for York Township Democratic Organization (YTDO) since 2014. During her tenure with YTDO, she has served on the Executive Committee, Township Election Campaign Committee, Event Planning Committee, Endorsement Committee and CD8 Summer Picnic Planning Committee, as well as DPDC Executive Committee. In 2018, she, along with a fellow PC, Ann Lobdell, organized, funded and executed the “136 Precinct Strategy Project, by which they reached out to Democratic voters in more than 50 orphan precincts who had never been reached out in the past and provided them with detailed primary election and candidate information tailored to each precinct to educate and inspire them to stay engaged in a democratic process. The result was nothing but positive.
She is the author of 4 resolutions on immigration, all of which were passed by YTDO and submitted to U.S Senators and Congressional Representatives representing York Township. The 4 resolutions are: in support of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and demanding Congress to pass the Dream Act of 2017 (S. 1615); demanding Congress to pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform; objecting to criminalization of asylum seekers and separation of children from their parents implemented by then Attorney General, Jeff Sessions; objecting to the use of coercion by the Department of Homeland Security against parents who were separated from their children and demanding resignation of Kirstjen Nielsen, then Secretary of Homeland Security.
She has also been active in election protection. She served as a member of the IL Ballot Integrity Project’s Election Integrity Conference 2017 Planning Committee and authored a resolution on election integrity.
She is a strong supporter of universal healthcare based on her experience of working as a research assistant to one of the most prominent Health Law Professors in the nation while in law school, who authored “The International Human Right to Health”, and her personal experience of surviving breast cancer with which she was diagnosed during the last semester in law school. The National Institute of Health, a Federal government agency, invests nearly $39.2 billion in medical research for Americans, making the United States one of the countries with the most advanced medical technology available, but it should not be reserved only for those who can afford to pay for the medical technology; it should be accessible for all regardless of their economic standing.
Professionally, she has been committed to giving back to communities since 2004. As an immigration attorney, she frequently volunteers at the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS) Immigration Clinic and has taken cases from CVLS and the National Immigrant Justice Center on a pro bono basis by providing representation to a number of clients who otherwise have no access to legal services. She represented, among others, immigrant victims of domestic violence and helped them acquire legal status in the United States so that they can become financially and psychologically independent of their abusive U.S. citizen spouses. She assisted young immigrants with no legal status in the United States in obtaining DACA protection to minimize a possibility of deportation. She represented a young woman from an African country who was a victim of state-sponsored torture in obtaining asylum and fought for 7 years on behalf of a permanent resident of Pakistani descent in his application for naturalization until the Department of Homeland Security finally agreed to grant him U.S. citizenship.
At a personal level, she is an avid conservationist, focusing on the conservation of pollinator plants native to Illinois, bees, butterflies, birds and wildlife as well as supporting environmental protection organizations. Growing up with animal companions, she fostered and adopted neglected, difficult-to-adopt cats and rescued stray and injured dogs. She supports Cat Guardians, a no-kill shelter in Lombard, and has been a sponsor of a resident cat at the shelter. She hand-raised a Monarch caterpillar rescued in late October 2018 who became a magnificent Monarch and lived through January 2019.
She is the recipient of the Pro Bono Attorney of the Year awarded by one of the Big 100 firms in 2008 as well as the 2015 PC of the Year and the 2016 Community Service Award, both awarded by YTDO.