By: Renee Nal | New Zeal
Yuri Kochiyama was celebrated with a “Google Doodle” on what would have been her 95th birthday. The hardcore Maoist and one-time convert to Islam died at 93. According to her file at Keywiki.org, Trevor Loudon’s site that profiles tens of thousands of American radicals, Kochiyama was heavily influenced by radical Black Nationalist Malcolm X.
Kochiyama’s focus shifted from “racial integration” to separatism, which was, how she described it, “total liberation.”
A lifelong radical activist, Yuri Kochiyama traveled to Cuba with the Venceremos Brigade.
She said in part:
“It was such a golden opportunity to work, study, and learn about global liberation struggles and socialism in Cuba. There are still Brigades going to Cuba today…”
“An unexpected highlight for many Brigadistas, especially the Blacks, was the brief encounters with the highly esteemed, recognized folk hero, Black revolutionary Assata Shakur. Seeing Shakur and her daughter looking well and strong was heartwarming. Another delight for us was the quick meeting with Don Rojas, the former press secretary for Grenada’s beloved martyred Prime Minister, Maurice Bishop, on the last night of our stay.”
This is how Google euphemistically describes Yuri Kochiyama:
It’s with great pleasure that Google celebrates Yuri Kochiyama, an Asian American activist who dedicated her life to the fight for human rights and against racism and injustice. Born in California, Kochiyama spent her early twenties in a Japanese American internment camp in Arkansas during WWII. She and her family would later move to Harlem, where she became deeply involved in African American, Latino, and Asian American liberation and empowerment movements. Today’s doodle by Alyssa Winans features Kochiyama taking a stand at one of her many protests and rallies.
Kochiyama left a legacy of advocacy: for peace, U.S. political prisoners, nuclear disarmament, and reparations for Japanese Americans interned during the war. She was known for her tireless intensity and compassion, and remained committed to speaking out, consciousness-raising, and taking action until her death in 2014.
Hat Tip: John