Yuri Kochiyama has been one of the most influential Asian American women activists in history. A Japanese American civil rights activist, she embodied the powerful spirit of movement and change.
She was born and raised in California in a family of first-generation Japanese immigrants. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Kochiyama came home from church one day to discover her father was being arrested by FBI agents. Her father had just been in the hospital; he died the day after his six week detention in FBI custody. The rest of her family was soon imprisoned in a camp in Arkansas.
Following the war, she moved to Harlem and began to be involved with local civil rights organizations. At the center of the civil rights and black liberation movement, she became actively involved with their struggles and participated in many marches and demonstrations. She was also involved in the movement for reparations and a government apology for imprisoned Japanese Americans during World War 2.