Kochiyama’s efforts toward political and social activism

By Sophia Hysaw, Opinion Editor

                    Sophia Hysaw

Yuri Kochiyama, born May 19, 1921, was a tireless political activist for social justice and human rights.

Born in San Pedro, California, Yuri’s father was arrested and detained in a hospital simply for being the only Japanese person present, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He died shortly afterward. Under Executive Order 9066 in 1943, Yuri and her family were sent to a concentration camp in Arkansas for two years. Through these experiences, she became highly aware of government abuses and became invested in political and social activism. She became a key component in countless movements such as the African-American, Asian American, and Third World movements as well as the fight against the Vietnam War.

As the founder of Asian Americans for Action, she sought to link this movement to the struggle for Black liberation and unite ethnic people in America for the fight for their rights. She was also a friend and political ally to Malcom X and joined his group, the Organization for Afro-American Unity.