Yuri Kochiyama was honored by many Asian American civil rights organizations yesterday on her birthday.
Kochiyama was born on May 19, 1921, in San Pedro, California, to Japanese immigrant parents. The FBI arrested her father shortly after the bombing in 1941, believing he might be a spy because of his friendship with a Japanese ambassador. According to Densho, his six-week imprisonment aggravated his health problems, and he died a day after he was released. Kochiyama’s family was incarcerated along with 120,000 other Japanese Americans.
Throughout the 1960s, Kochiyama became heavily involved in several civil rights movements. She forged a friendship with civil rights activist Malcolm X. She was with him on the day he was assassinated.
Kochiyama was a staunch advocate for cross-racial solidarity. Throughout her lifetime she fought for black nationalism, advocated for worker’s rights, supported anti-war movements and shined a light on several other civil rights issues.
Asian Americans and civil rights organizations honored Kochiyama on social media.
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