By Arturo R. García
Yuri Kochiyama, whose pursuit of social justice exemplified intersectionality as much as it did longevity, passed away on Sunday in California. She was 93.
“She was definitely ahead of her time, and we caught up with her,” relative Tim Toyama told NPR last year.
By Andrea Plaid
When Dr. Brittney Cooper started the #paulawontcookit hashtag during the height of Black Twitter dragging Paula Deen for her controversial comments—and my undergrad college ace Dr. Lisa Huebner Rutchti tagged me to join in the fun–I contributed
Which, I’m proud to say, met with Dr. Cooper’s approval and made Racialicious guest contributor (and my homie) Sofia Quintero say:
Why Kochiyama? She most famously held Malcolm X (who, by that point, changed his name to El Hajj Malik el Shabazz to reflect his pilgrimage to Mecca) while he was dying from assassins’ bullets. She was a member of his Organization of Afro-American Unity. And, in 1977, she joined 29 members of the New York Committee to Free Puerto Rican Nationalists Prisoners, a pro-independence group, as they took over the Statue of Liberty to protest for the return of the island’s sovereignty, ending anti-Puerto Rican discrimination, and freeing Puerto Rican political prisoners. She also became an activist mentor as Asian Americans protested the rampant racism against them that the Vietam War exacerbated as she herself agitated for reparations for the Japanese American who the US government interred during World War II.
And she—who is still alive—is known for much, much more, as the new documentary Yuri Kochiyama: Passion for Justice talks about.
CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities and Women Make Movies are co-sponsoring a screening and a panel discussion at Maysles Documentary Center in Harlem tonight, starting at 6PM! Some of the panelists include members from Kochiyama’s family and Racialicious Crush alum and guest contributor Scot Nakagawa. Tickets are $10 (suggested donation), and the proceeds go toward supporting CAAAV’s programs.
For more information and tickets, please check here. And I’ll let you know how the cornbread turns out!
By Guest Contributor Ninoy Brown, cross-posted from FOBBDeep
A week ago, at Oakland’s amazing Eastside Arts Alliance, I was among the many sardined bodies packed into the space to watch Mountains that Take Wing, a documentary about two two seminal figures in American activism, Angela Davis and Yuri Kochiyama.
For folks that are unaware of the contributions made by these powerful womyn of color, please school yourself.
Watching and hearing Yuri and Angela reflect on 90+ years of activism grounded myself back to the importance of serving the people and not getting burned out. Discussions about life, struggles, and the evolving social landscape throughout the decades was profound to see.
The night of the show, both individuals were present, but Yuri had to leave early because she was feeling under the weather. This brought me back to reality knowing that two individuals that I hold highly are immortal and that it is even more important now to hear their personal narratives so as to offer the younger generations insight and perspective.
Watch the trailer below.