Janice Mirikitani (1941-2021) was a Japanese-American poet, activist, and community leader. Born in Stockton, California. She and her family were forcibly relocated to Japanese internment camps during World War II, after which she settled in San Francisco.
Mirikitani began writing poetry at a young age as a way to cope with the trauma of her family’s internment and her father’s suicide. Her poetry often addressed issues of social justice and drew on her experiences as a woman of color. Her work has been widely anthologized and honored with numerous awards, including the American Book Award and the National Literary Award from the Asian American Writers’ Workshop.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Mirikitani became involved in the Asian American movement and worked to raise awareness about issues affecting Asian Americans, including discrimination, poverty, and mental health.
Mirikitani was an influential community leader in San Francisco. She served as the founding president of the Glide Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides services to marginalized communities, including the homeless and those struggling with addiction.