IPR is featuring some of the many AAPI pioneers who had an impact on the field of public relations in celebration of AAPI Heritage Month.
Yuri Kochiyama (1921–2014) was a political activist who contributed to movements for social justice and human rights.
In 1943, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Kochiyama was incarcerated at Camp Jerome in Arkansas – one of the incarceration camps that held 120,000 Japanese/Japanese American citizens during WWII. Kochiyama cites this as “the beginning of [her] political awakening.”
Kochiyama’s activism started in Harlem in the early 1960s, where she was a fixture in support movements involving organizations such as the Young Lords and the Harlem Community for Self Defense. As founder of Asian Americans for Action, she also sought to build a more political Asian American movement that would link itself to the struggle for Black liberation. In 1963, she met Malcolm X and joined his group, the Organization for Afro-American Unity, to work for racial justice and human rights.
Asian American Activism: The Continuing Struggle – Yuri Kochiyama
Asian Americans in the People’s History of the United States – Yuri Kochiyama
Zinn Education Project