Sunday, April 17, 2005

Yuri Kochiyama: Heartbeat of Struggle

Yuri Kochiyama
Yuri Kochiyama was the first to rush to the aid of Malcolm X when he was shot by assassins on February 21, 1965, at New York’s Audubon Ballroom. She was photographed cradling Malcolm X in her arms as he died. Kochiyama had already been involved with the African American civil rights movement for some years, and she had come to that movement due to the plight of her own people. Kochiyama’s family, along with all other Japanese Americans, had been placed in US concentrations camps during the Second World War. The camp Kochiyama’s family was sent to was located in Arkansas, and it was there that the young Yuri Kochiyama witnessed the racist discrimination practiced by whites against blacks. She linked that bigotry to how her own people were being treated, and from that point on she became an activist for human rights and social change.

Heartbeat of Struggle: The Revolutionary Life of Yuri Kochiyama is the first biography of this courageous woman, the most prominent Asian American activist to emerge during the 1960s. Based on extensive archival research and interviews with Kochiyama's family, friends, and the subject herself, author Diane C. Fujino traces Kochiyama's life from an "all-American" childhood to her achievements as a tireless defender of-and fighter for-human rights. Ms. Fujino is associate professor of Asian American studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara -and is herself a scholarly activist dedicated to the civil rights of Asian Americans.

Author Diane C. Fujino will appear with Ms. Kochiyama in their first book signing and speaking engagement of their book tour. The event will take place at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, at 11:00 am, Sunday, April 24, 2005. The program with Ms. Kochiyama is included with Museum admission. The Japanese American National Museum is located in LA's historic Little Tokyo, at 369 East First Street, Los Angeles, Ca 90012. Phone: 213-625-0414. For directions and more information, visit the museums' website. (posted by M.)