A Tireless Worker
“’Each generation must, out of its relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it.’ And I think today part of the mission would be to fight against racism and polarization, learn from each other’s struggle, but also understand national liberation struggles… There are enough issues that we could all work together on.”
You can’t help but admire Yuri as, now at age 82, she continues to be active in the fight for justice in our world. Among her recent endeavors, she has done a number of interviews, welcoming anyone wishing to interview her. She speaks at a myriad of conferences, on topics of all sorts. Whether it be retelling her experiences, reflecting on people she has worked with or met such as Malcolm X, or encouraging others to discover their mission and partake in the fight against injustice, the knowledge and opinions that she expresses always manage to have a powerful effect on her listeners.
One of her recent events has been her keynote address at the Day of Remembrance in 2002, commemorating the sixtieth anniversary of Executive Order No. 9066 which essentially allowed Japanese internment. At this event, Yuri expressed her reflections on September 11th, as she makes close connection between the treatment of Muslims and Arabs with the treatment of Japanese when Pearl Harbor was bombed. With this speech and in a number of her interviews, she warns not to let history repeat itself. Yuri presently protests the war in Iraq, as she believes U.S. involvement is another instance of imperialism.
Yuri still lends great support not only to political prisoners such as David Wong and Mumia Abu-Jamal, but to other activists as well, including Chris Iijima. She also has taken on the role of educating many young children ranging from all ages, as she visits children as young as 2nd graders and as old as college students. She talks to them about Malcolm and especially at college talks, she tries to encourage students not only to take action against things such as racism and polarization, but to cross cultural boundaries and learn from each other.
Power With Words
“Consciousness Is Power”
Over the past 40 or more years, Yuri Kochiyama has made it her obligation to educate others in the hope that their awareness of world issues will motivate them to take action to try to fix these problems. With this ambition, she has made countless speeches throughout her years as an activist and still amazingly continues to do so. Among her speeches, prominent ones have been on political consciousness or awareness, multicultural interactions, taking action, political prisoners, Malcolm X, decolonization, and making links between diverse peoples and areas.