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OCA Mourns the Loss of Yuri Kochiyama

Thursday, June 5, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kham Moua
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June 5, 2014                               


Dear Advocates,                                                                                           


As many of you may already be aware, Yuri Kochiyama passed away over the weekend at the age of 93. She was a prominent and influential Asian American social justice, human rights, and civil rights activist who served as an inspiration to all civil rights leaders. Yuri was a lifelong advocate who staunchly supported and advanced civil rights, redress and reparations for Japanese Americans, various movements for ethnic studies, and other causes.


Yuri demonstrated the need for our community to work within and outside ourselves. She was perhaps most well-known for her friendship with Malcom X, her work within the African American and Native American movements, and the bridges she built between communities of color. Civil rights is not a zero sum game and her work has single handedly demonstrated this principle. Yuri has shown us that the movement cannot only lift one community but must simultaneously uplift all of us. In 2001, we were honored to award her with the OCA Outstanding Citizen Achievement Award at our National Convention in Seattle, Washington for her work and passion for our community.


She has paved many roads for our communities and built strong bonds with other communities through her work and dedication to justice. Though she may no longer be with us, her legacy lives on as a new generation of leaders continues the march toward equality and equity for all. Let us remember her with gratitude and open minds.




Sharon M. Wong


[Correction: Yuri Kochiyama passed away at the age of 93. A previous version indicated that she was 92 at her time of death.]

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