Holding the head of a dying Malcolm X at his assassination in New York City only highlights the courageousness of this Japanese-American activist.
“The legacy I would like to leave is that people try to build bridges and not walls,” Yuri said, on Debbie Allen’s “Cool Women” television show in 2001.
Yuri was born in San Pedro, California, and graduated from Compton Junior College in 1941.
She was placed in a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II due to the executive order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, which forced approximately 120,000
people of Japanese ancestry into various camps across the nation, according to Wikipedia.
Yuri and her family spent three years at the War Relocation Authority camp in Arkansas.
In 1960, Yuri joined the Harlem Parents Committee and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). She protested the Vietnam War and became a mentor to the Asian American movement She organized the East Coast Japanese Americans for Redress that spearheaded a campaign for reparations and a government apology for the imprisonment of Japanese Americans during World War II.
In 1988, Pres. Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act awarding $20,000 to each Japanese-American internment survivor, among other things. Yuri used the victory to fight for reparations for Blacks. In her later years, she was active in protesting the profiling of and bigotry against Muslims, Middle-Easterners and South Asians in the U.S., viewing the similarity to the Japanese-American experience during World War II.
Yuri spent time teaching English to immigrant students and volunteering at soup kitchens and homeless shelters in New York City. She supported many controversial movements and people throughout the years.
In May 2016, Yuri’s 95th birthday anniversary was acknowledged with a U.S. Google Doodle, which prompted both public praise and criticism of her activism. That, in turn, caused Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) to call for a public apology from Google.
On June 6, 2014, the White House honored Yuri on its website for dedicating “her life to the pursuit of social justice, not only for the Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community, but all communities of color.”
Boggs was a legendary activist and philosopher. She was born in 1915 to Chinese immigrant parents and advocated for tenants’ and workers’ rights. She was one of the only non-Black female leaders in the Black Power Movement.
Donna Hylton, a New York justice activist and formerly incarcerated woman, addressed the Women’s March in Washington on January 21, 2017. Hylton said she was marching for all the women still incarcerated and standing up for those who are tossed aside and told they have no voice, reported a Truthout article.
“Today we are marching in solidarity to change that narrative,” she said. “Changing that narrative is key to changing policies related to parole.”
In 1991, Ellen Ochoa became the world’s first Hispanic female astronaut. She was a mission specialist and flight engineer. Ochoa is a veteran of four space flights, logging more than 950 hours in space. She received her Master of Science and Doctorate degrees at Stanford University. She was born in Los Angeles and now lives in Texas with her family.
Cristina Jimenez, 31, is a co-founder and managing director of “United We Dream,” a national advocacy group powered by young immigrants. They share their stories publicly, and as activists they risk being targeted by federal authorities. Their faces became the faces of the immigration debate. Jimenez continues to advocate for undocumented people.
Amy Goodman is the host of Democracy Now! a daily independent global news program on radio, television and the internet. She is a syndicated columnist and investigative reporter. She received the Gandhi Peace Award in 2012 for her contribution promoting international peace. She is the author of six books. In 2016, she was charged criminally for her coverage of the North Dakota pipeline protests. The riot charges have since been dropped.
Actress and Activist Rosario Dawson has been lending her voice to different causes for years. On April 15, 2016, Dawson was among the protesters arrested during Democracy Spring in Washington, D.C. She gave support to the RESPECT! Campaign in 2008, a movement aimed at preventing domestic violence. She was arrested in 2004, protesting against Pres. George W. Bush. She was at the Bernie Sanders rally in Washington Square Park in 2016.