The mission of the Watsonville-Santa Cruz Chapter of the JACL is to promote, sponsor, or encourage all programs to further the two slogans of the national Japanese American Citizens League: 1) “For Better Americans in a Greater America” and 2) “Security through Unity”, and to promote the cultural and educational development and protection of the civil rights of all people regardless of race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, age, or disability, in order to foster American democracy, promote active participation in civic and national life, and secure justice and equal opportunities for all people, including persons of Japanese ancestry residing in the United States.

Chapter membership is primarily composed of residents of Santa Cruz County and northern Monterey County (Pajaro Valley) although a number of members reside in other parts of the United States.

The Chapter is well-known and respected for its effective responses to acts of racism, hate, bigotry, harassment, discrimination, violence, and vandalism in the area.  It is also involved in a diverse range of civil rights, educational, cultural, civic and historical, veterans, and other issues.  It also interfaces with other community groups, civil rights organizations, Asian American organizations, and the media in an effort to prevent or respond to instances of hate or discrimination.