I was surprised to see that Google’s Doodle today featured Yuri Kochiyama. Today would’ve been her 95th birthday. Today would’ve also been Malcolm X’s 91st birthday. In the 1960’s the two of them became revolutionary allies in the struggle for the liberation of oppressed peoples.
Yuri was a phenomenal freedom fighter with fierce, unbreakable ties to the U.S. Black Liberation Struggle. One of the most vivid insights I found in her book was when Japanese Americans were uprooted from their communities and forced into concentration camps during World War II. Her young, white friends and the family’s neighbors quickly severed ties and saw them as the enemy. History is full of examples of how easy it is to manipulate the human psyche, especially along ethnic and religious lines.
Yuri Kochiyama, Malcolm X–Presente!