DAILY NEWS BRIEF: Human rights activism and controversy

In the news: Google‘s featuring of civil-rights activist Yuri Kochiyama on its home page receives a host of news coverage about the bold advocate for human rights who stirred controversy with her professed sympathies for Malcolm X, Castro, and Bin Laden. Her life-time activism grew out of her experience as one of the Japanese Americans held in the camps during World War II. She championed the cause of those who were incarcerated then and helped bring about reparations for the innocent citizens whose civil rights were violated by the U.S. government due to war hysteria.

Learn more:

  • [Densho] On Yuri Kochiyama’s 95th Birthday, 5 Enduring Quotes to Celebrate With: “The list of her political involvements is a long one, but what makes Yuri’s particular brand of activism so powerful was her ability to find the intersections of seemingly separate issues and unite people from radically different backgrounds under a common cause. In addition to the interethnic coalitions she’s famous for pioneering, Yuri was committed to creating a multigenerational movement, constantly supporting, and taking the time to learn from, young activists. “ Read more
  • [Washington Post] Google commemorates a very controversial civil-rights figure, Yuri Kochiyama: “It’s a life worth thinking about today as the idea of group internment and other types of formalized group suspicion have been floated, debated and described as “rhetorical devices” and “suggestions” during the 2016 presidential campaign.” Read more
  • [Vox] Yuri Kochiyama, today’s Google Doodle, fought for civil rights — and praised Osama bin Laden: “Some of Kochiyama’s work was deeply, clearly admirable. As an associate of Malcolm X, she was an important nonblack ally to the more militant end of the civil rights movement. She endured forced internment during World War II, and was an outspoken advocate for reparations to internees, which would eventually be passed in 1988. She was a vocal opponent of the Vietnam War and advocate for inmates she viewed as political prisoners.But other commitments of hers were more ambiguous. She was an outspoken admirer of Mao Zedong even after the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution.” Read more
  • [Heavy] Yuri Kochiyama: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know: “Her biographer, Diane Fujino, told the San Francisco Chronicle, “To Yuri, one of the major problems in society is polarization; the other is racism. Opposing polarization takes on greater significance when one believes, as does Yuri, that social change comes through collective action.” Read more

[Advancing Justice – ALC Vimeo] AAPI Civil Rights Heroes – Yuri Kochiyama
[R Tajima / YouTube] Yuri & Bill Kochiyama: on the road in Mississippi

Photo credit: Screenshot from [Advancing Justice – ALC Vimeo] AAPI Civil Rights Heroes – Yuri Kochiyama


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