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Current Events PopWrapped | Current Events

Japanese-American Civil Rights Activist, And Friend Of Malcolm X, Yuri Kochiyama Dies At Age 93

PopWrapped | PopWrapped Author

PopWrapped

06/02/2014 8:46 pm
PopWrapped | Current Events
Japanese-American Civil Rights Activist, And Friend Of Malcolm X, Yuri Kochiyama Dies At Age 93
Media Courtesy of Hyphen Magazine

Jonathan Frahm

Staff Writer

@JNoodles_

A true hero passed away at 93 in Japanese-American civil rights activist Yuri Kochiyama. According to sources close to her, she had passed away peacefully in her sleep last Sunday night. Like all other Japanese-Americans during her childhood, she and her family were forced into an internment camp following the attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II. She met her husband, Bill Kochiyama, at the Jerome Relocation Center in Arkansas during her internment and married him after World War II. Living in the projects amongst black and Puerto Rican neighbors during this time had inspired the Kochiyamas to champion not just Japanese-American civil rights, but civil rights for all Asian-Americans, and for blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans, as well. She had first found her political voice alongside the legendary black rights activist Malcolm X after the two had met in 1963. It was because of her friendship with Malcolm X that she had become increasingly radicalized concerning her views on civil rights. When he was gunned down in 1965 during his final speech, Kochiyama was there to cradle him in her arms during his final moments. In the 1980s, she and her husband had urged President Ronald Reagan to offer reparations as a formal governmental apology for what over 100,000 Japanese-Americans had to go through during World War II. Reagan eventually agreed, signing the reparations into law in 1988. It’s because of Kochiyama that hundreds of thousands of Asian-Americans have the opportunities that they do today that are equal to those of all other races. Make sure to take a moment out of your day to pay respect to this woman in your mind, because if people like her never existed, we wouldn’t be the universal melting pot that we are today. Keep Up With PopWrapped On The Web!

     

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