internment-of-Japanese-Americans

After three years I finally photographed my Yuri Kochiyama (2013) print.
The revolutionary Yuri Kochiyama passed away in early 2014. Yuri was a survivor of the U.S government’s internment of Japanese Americans, a leader in the Asian liberation movement and a comrade to Black liberation leaders like Malcolm X. But Yuri’s life was more than a list affiliations.

From her family and Remembering Yuri Kochiyama:
“Over a span of more than 50 years, Yuri worked tirelessly for social and political change through her activism in support of social justice and civil and human rights movements. Yuri was born on May 19, 1921 in San Pedro, California and spent two years in a concentration camp in Jerome, Arkansas during World War II. After the war, she moved to New York City and married Bill Kochiyama, a decorated veteran of the all-Japanese American 442nd combat unit of the U.S.
Yuri’s activism started in Harlem in the early 1960’s, where she participated in the Harlem Freedom Schools, and later, the African American, Asian American and Third World movements for civil and human rights and in the opposition against the Vietnam War. In 1963, she met Malcolm X. Their friendship and political alliance radically changed her life and perspective. She joined his group, the Organization of Afro-American Unity, to work for racial justice and human rights. Over the course of her life, Yuri was actively involved in various movements for ethnic studies, redress and reparations for Japanese Americans, African Americans and Native Americans, political prisoners’ rights, Puerto Rican independence and many other struggles.
Yuri is survived by her living children – Audee, Eddie (Pam), Jimmy (Alison) and Tommy (Julie), grandchildren – Zulu (Masai), Akemi (Marc), Herb (Jennifer), Ryan, Traci, Maya, Aliya, Christopher, and Kahlil and great-grandchildren – Kai, Leilani, Kenji, Malia and Julia.”

The Smithsonian has curated Folk Hero, an online exhibit featuring art that celebrates Yuri’s life through grassroots art. The online exhibit includes a screenprint of Yuri I created at the Taller Arte del Nuevo Amanecer. #yurikochiyama

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More temple stuff. They had a replica of a hut used in WW2 for when we kept Japanese-Americans in the internment camps. It housed furniture by a local who was shipped off and had a lot of his family’s history and biographies lining the walls. This was pretty much the whole thing, save for one suitcase. The roof was barely burlap.

I was surprised to learn that Sonoma County, where this temple is and where I live, is one of the only places in America where everyone else guarded the property and belongings of those sent off to the camps and they were able to re-obtain everything they almost lost and were forced out of out of the goodwill of our citizens. Most of the rest of America was not so kind.

It would be cool if Simon Pegg, a boring (I tried to read his book), straight, white, British (imperialist) man would SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP. already and stop talking over George Takei, a gay, Japanese-American whose family was forced into internment camps, who objected to Sulu (an iconic, ground breaking character he helped create via his portrayal) being retconned/pre-conned as gay. 

Takei’s argument is absolutely reasonable and fair, that rather than create diversity by attaching it to existing canon, it should just be added, plain and simple. Diversity shouldn’t only exist if you think you need established characters to make it happen. You should make the effort for diversity and make it work. 

Instead, everyone involved (especially Simon Pegg) is being a giant fucking baby because they presumed to speak for a minority group instead of taking their opinion seriously.