Mitchell Maki is President and CEO of the Go for Broke National Education Center. Before taking part in a Zócalo/Daniel K. Inouye Institute event titled “How Can Americans Defend the 14th Amendment When the Government Won’t?” he chatted in the green room about listening to hula music, baseball, and visiting Japan.
What’s in heavy rotation right now on whichever device you listen to music on?
A combination of ’70s music and Hawaiian music. That kind of reflects my background, because I was in high school in the ’70s, so a lot of rhythm and blues—Earth, Wind & Fire; Commodores—that type of genre. And my parents and my wife are from Hawai‘i, my wife and my daughter are deep into hula, so we have a lot of Hawaiian music and contemporary Hawaiian music playing. So between the two, that’s what you’ll hear when you sit in my car or walk in my house.
What are you reading for pleasure? Or what was the last good book you read?
I’m reading a book called Ninety Percent Mental: An All-Star Player Turned Mental Skills Coach Reveals the Hidden Game of Baseball [by Bob Tewksbury and Scott Miller]. It’s written by a former Major League baseball player [Tewksbury] talking about the art of pitching. My son is a college pitcher, going into his second year, so baseball has dominated our lives. Baseball is a big part of our family’s experience.
You were a Dodgers fan as a kid. Did you have a favorite player?
I got an autograph from Don Sutton, so that’s what stands out.
If you could time travel, where would you go?
Certainly because of the work that I do and the stories that I tell, I’d go back to World War II. I’d like to go back to one of the [Japanese American internment] camps and actually feel, touch it, experience it, because that’s obviously something I talk a lot about and it would be great to do that. I would also like to go back to some very historic moments in our country’s past: Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, President Kennedy’s speeches. I’d also like to meet Jesus. And I’m not particularly religious, but certainly his life has affected the world in major ways. I’d like to see who the man was.
You were talking earlier about bucket lists. What’s on yours?
I’d want to go to different places, either for the first time or again. I’d go to Japan again. There are many places in Japan I haven’t been to. I would love to do something new in terms of learning an instrument, or learning a language that I don’t know, because it opens up a new way of seeing the world. And in some ways, I’d like to do something completely different than what I do on a day-to-day basis.