This past weekend the Asian American community, nay — HUMANITY lost a legend. But the legacy of Yuri Kochiyama continues to burn bright — not just because she was friends with Malcolm X or supported the work of the Black Panther Party. It was her integrity, her inclusive vision of justice, and her generous spirit (to name a few) that truly made Yuri a stone cold bad ass freedom fighter (not to mention a muse for Blue Scholars).
In tribute, 18MillionRising.org has set up a Tumblr called Because of Yuri, to collect stories and memories from the many people she moved, whether they met her in person or not. Including CBruhs, who is honored to have her submission included (and below). Head on over to #BecauseofYuri to share your praises, and check out the other contributions in honor of this marvelous, miraculous, beautiful woman warrior.
I’ve never had the honor of meeting Yuri Kochiyama, but her power, her passion, her presence has continually lingered in the atmosphere, like a spark in the ether. The iconic image of Yuri speaking with ferocity at a 1968 anti-war demonstration is branded into my brain, and no doubt countless others — young and old, Asian American and non — who, like me, hope to manifest even a small part of her fearless life and vision. This image of Yuri is audacious, it is righteous, and it still quickens my blood every time I see it. It shows someone who does not look like what we’ve been conditioned to believe a hero can look like in America, but who was nevertheless propelled by the courage of conviction, who boldly lived her values, and who modeled what justice can look like when we build together. I see a woman warrior, and it is in Yuri’s legacy that I can imagine the promise and potential of our beloved society. Thank you for all you’ve given us.