I discovered Yuri Kochiyama after reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X. I forget if she is mentioned in the book, or if I found her in my subsequent web surfing. She has since become one of my personal heros. Her practice of social justice and equality is who I have modeled my life after.
|Her incarceration in WWII concentration camps to life in Harlem, NY|
Her biography Heartbeat of a Struggle was life-changing for me. It inspired me to move to Atlanta and pick up a life of social worker and intentional community. (I have since realized that a life of grass roots organizing and working in neighborhoods is no joke...)
In this series of drawings, I was trying to capture aspects of Yuri's life that continue to challenge me.
|Yuri's letter-writing campaign from Nisei soldiers to political prisoners, like Marilyn Buck|
|To remind myself that Yuri started off as a mother, a quite-innocent and maybe quite ignorant of political issues, before she came into her life as revolutionary political activist.|
|Alex's version of Yuri|
Notice her fist is most of the drawings. She means business, people.
Revolution doesn't come overnight, or very easily.
Keep on keepin' on.
|The sketch version of Yuri, featured in Colorish Dreams: blogzine|
1, 2, 3, 5 by a'misa chiu
4 by alex chiu and a'misa chiu
Yuri's personal papers were donated to UCLA Asian American Special Collections.
More research projects on inspiring women of color need to be made. Other note-worthy workers are Grace Lee Boggs, Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga, Tomie Arai, Stacey Ann Chin, bell hooks, etc.