Yuri Kochiyama

#asianpacificamericanheritagemonthProfilesApril 24, 2023

Yuri Kochiyama (1921-2014) was a Japanese-American activist known for her work in the civil rights movement and her advocacy for social justice.

She was born in San Pedro, California, and was raised in a predominantly white community. During World War II, Kochiyama and her family were forcibly relocated to an internment camp in Arkansas, along with thousands of other Japanese-Americans. After the war, she moved to New York City with her husband and became involved in activism, joining groups such as the Harlem Parents Committee and the Asian Americans for Action.

Kochiyama was a staunch advocate for civil rights and social justice, heavily influenced by the ideas of Malcolm X and other black nationalist leaders. She was present at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem in 1965 when Malcolm X was assassinated, and she cradled his head in her lap as he lay dying.

Kochiyama is remembered as a tireless fighter for justice and equality, who dedicated her life to building bridges between different communities and working towards a more just and equitable society. Her legacy continues to inspire activists and organizers around the world to fight for social justice and equality for all people.