Yuri Kochiyama (1921-2014)
Lauded in the Asian-American community as being “ahead of her time,” Kochiyama, a Japanese American, was a staunch advocate for the rights of black, Latinx and indigenous communities as well as Asian Americans. Her family was among those interned during World War II, an experience that would profoundly impact Kochiyama and her fight for racial justice.
During her years as a human rights activist, Kochiyama advocated for black liberation, Puerto Rican independence and the rights of political prisoners. In the 1980s, she and her husband successfully lobbied the U.S. government to grant reparations and issue a formal apology to Japanese Americans forced into internment camps during World War II.