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Lia Chang Multimedia: Ambassador Attalah Shabazz, Tomie Arai, Jamal Joseph, Janice Robinson, Soh Daiko, Taiyo Na and More Celebrate the Life of Yuri Kochiyama in New York

Ambassador Attalah Shabazz poses with a photo of the late Yuri Kochiyama. Photo by Lia Chang

Ambassador Attalah Shabazz poses with a photo of the late Yuri Kochiyama. Photo by Lia Chang

A Program from Yuri Kochiyama's memorial in New York on September 27, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

A Program from Yuri Kochiyama’s memorial in New York on September 27, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

The First Corinthian Baptist Church in New York was filled to capacity on the last Saturday in September for a memorial service to celebrate the life of activist Yuri Kochiyama, who passed away peacefully in her sleep in Berkeley, California on the morning of Sunday, June 1, 2014, at the age of 93.

Soh Daiko, Pua Ali’i ‘llima o Nuioka, Janice Robinson, Taiyo Na and Magnetic North, and New Heritage Theatre Group’s Impact Repertory were among the artists who performed in tribute to Yuri.

Former Black Panther Jamal Joseph served as emcee and Yuri’s granddaughter Akemi Kochiyama read a statement from the family. Malcolm X’s oldest daughter Ambassador Attalah Shabazz, Peter Wong, Lumumba Akinwole-Bandele, Tomie Arai and Zulu Williams were among those who gave remembrances.

Over a span of more than 50 years, Yuri worked tirelessly for social and political change through her activism in support of social justice and civil and human rights movements.

At its annual convention at the Los Angeles Hilton and Towers in 1993, APALA honored four pioneers in the crusade for Asian American civil rights. (L-R) Jesse Jackson Jr., David Trask, Jr., a noted Hawaiian labor leader, Yuri Kochiyama, a peace and community activist from New York who died in 2014, Fred Korematsu, the civil rights proponent who called upon the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II who died in 2005; Jesse Jackson; Frank Atonio, who brought forward a complaint in the important labor discrimination case known as Wards Cove, and Kent Wong, APALA’s first president. Photo by Lia Chang

At its annual convention at the Los Angeles Hilton and Towers in 1993, APALA honored four pioneers in the crusade for Asian American civil rights. (L-R) Jesse Jackson Jr., David Trask, Jr., a noted Hawaiian labor leader, Yuri Kochiyama, a peace and community activist from New York who died in 2014, Fred Korematsu, the civil rights proponent who called upon the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II who died in 2005; Jesse Jackson; Frank Atonio, who brought forward a complaint in the important labor discrimination case known as Wards Cove, and Kent Wong, APALA’s first president. Photo by Lia Chang

The Kochiyama Clan.

The Kochiyama Clan.

Yuri was born on May 19, 1921 in San Pedro, California and spent two years in a concentration camp in Jerome, Arkansas during World War II. After the war, she moved to New York City and married Bill Kochiyama, a decorated veteran of the all-Japanese American 442nd combat unit of the U.S. Army.

Yuri’s activism started in Harlem in the early 1960’s, where she participated in the Harlem Freedom Schools, and later, the African American, Asian American and Third World movements for civil and human rights and in the opposition against the Vietnam War. In 1963, she met Malcolm X. Their friendship and political alliance radically changed her life and perspective. She joined his group, the Organization of Afro-American Unity, to work for racial justice and human rights. Over the course of her life, Yuri was actively involved in various movements for ethnic studies, redress and reparations for Japanese Americans, African Americans and Native Americans, political prisoners’ rights, Puerto Rican independence and many other struggles.

Yuri and her husband, Bill Kochiyama, were featured in My America...or Honk if You Love Buddha (1997), the documentary by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Renee Tajima-Peña.

Yuri and her husband, Bill Kochiyama, were featured in My America…or Honk if You Love Buddha (1997), the documentary by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Renee Tajima-Peña.

Film clips featuring Yuri in Renee Tajima-Pena’s My America…or Honk If You Love Buddha; Yuri Kochiyama: Passion for Justice by Pat Saunders and Rea Tajiri; and Mountains That Take Wing: Angela Davis and Yuri Kochiyama were shown during the memorial.

Akemi Kochiyama, John Kuo Wei Tchen and Audee Kochiyama-Holman. Photo by Lia Chang

Akemi Kochiyama, John Kuo Wei Tchen and Audee Kochiyama-Holman. Photo by Lia Chang

Yuri is survived by her living children—Audee, Eddie, Jimmy and Tommy, grandchildren—Zulu, Akemi, Herb, Ryan, Traci, Maya, Aliya, Christopher, and Kahlil and great-grandchildren—Kai, Leilani, Kenji, Malia and Julia.

Pamela Wu-Kochiyama, her husband Eddie Kochiyama and guest at Yuri Kochiyama Memorial at First Corinthian Church in New York on September 27, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Pamela Wu-Kochiyama, her husband Eddie Kochiyama and guest at Yuri Kochiyama Memorial at First Corinthian Church in New York on September 27, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Click below to see excerpts of tribute performances by Soh Daiko, Pua Ali’i ‘llima o Nuioka, Janice Robinson, Taiyo Na, Magnetic North, New Heritage Theatre Group’s Impact Repertory for Yuri.

Below is the full program lineup for Yuri’s memorial.
Soh Daiko
Tribute: “Hachidan”

Soh Daiko. Photo by Lia Chang

Soh Daiko. Photo by Lia Chang


Jamal Joseph, Emcee
Welcome & brief remarks

Pastor Desiree Allen
Welcome to First Corinthian Church

Akemi Kochiyama
Statement from the family

Pua Ali’i ‘llima o Nuioka
Tribute: Hula performance
with Director Kumu Hulu Vicky Holt Takamine

Hula performance tribute for Yuri Kochiyama by Pua Ali'i 'llima o Nuioka. Photo by Lia Chang

Hula performance tribute for Yuri Kochiyama by Pua Ali’i ‘llima o Nuioka. Photo by Lia Chang

Peter Wong. Photo by Lia Chang

Peter Wong. Photo by Lia Chang

Film clip: Yuri Kochiyama: Passion for Justice
by Pat Saunders & Rea Tajiri chronicles her remarkable contribution to social change through some of the most significant events of the 20th century, including the Black Liberation movement, the struggle for Puerto Rican independence, and the Japanese American Redress movement.

Peter Wong
Remembrances

Janice Robinson
Tribute: “Angel of the Night”


Attalah Shabazz
Remembrances


Film clip: Mountains That Take Wing: Angela Davis & Yuri Kochiyama
by C.A. Griffith & H.T.L Quan


Lumumba Akinwole-Bandele
Remembrances and message from Dr. Mutulu Shakur

Taiyo Na and Magnetic North
Tribute: “Asian Song”


Tomie Arai
Remembrances
Film clip: My America…or Honk If You Love Buddha
by Renee Tajima-Pena

Jamal Joseph and Impact Repertory
Remembrances and tribute

Impact Repertory Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang

Impact Repertory Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang

Zulu Williams
Closing remarks

Great Grandchildren – Leilani, Malia, Kenji and Kai
Reading of “My Creed” (by Yuri in 1939); and Kai’s statement

Ambassador Attalah Shabazz and Yuri Kochiyama's great grandchildren at Yuri Kochiyama Memorial at First Corinthian Church in New York on September 27, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Ambassador Attalah Shabazz and Yuri Kochiyama’s great grandchildren at Yuri Kochiyama Memorial at First Corinthian Church in New York on September 27, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

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Video tribute by Tadashi Nakamura

Yuri appeared as herself in the TV movie, “Death of a Prophet — The Last Days of Malcolm X” (1981); in the 12 award winning documentary, All Power to the People! (1996), by Chinese-Jamaican-American filmmaker Lee Lew-Lee for ZDF-Arte, broadcast in 21 nations and the U.S. between 1996-2001; is the subject of a documentary film with Angela Davis called Mountains That Take Wing (2010) by C.A. Griffith & L.T. Quan; and is the subject of a Tim Toyama’s play, Yuri and Malcolm X.

Yuri’s speeches were published in Discover Your Mission: Selected Speeches & Writings of Yuri Kochiyama (1998), by Russell Muranaka, and she wrote Passing It On: A Memoir (2004).

In 2005, Kochiyama was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize through the “1,000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005” project.

Click here for John Kuo Wei Tchen’s tribute on Yuri Kochiyama (1921–2014) on www.versobooks.com.

Video on Yuri
Watch Yuri’s 2008 interview on Democracy Now!
This interview aired the week that marked 43 years since Malcolm X was gunned down in the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem, and Yuri also recalls how she cradled his head as he lay dying on the stage.
Life.com: Yuri Kochiyama, at Malcolm X’s Side When He Died, Is Dead at 93
AAPI Civil Rights Heroes – Yuri Kochiyama

Other articles on Yuri Kochiyama
Remembering Civil Rights Activist Yuri Kochiyama, 1921-2014
Sept. 27: Yuri Kochiyama Memorial Service at First Corinthian Baptist Church in New York
AsAmNews: Civil Rights Activist Yuri Kochiyama Dead at 93
The Independent: Yuri Kochiyama Dead: Japanese American Human Rights Activist and Close Malcolm Ally Dies Aged 93
SFGate: Yuri Kochiyama dies: activist got reparations for interned Japanese
Apex Express:Remembering Yuri Kochiyama (part 1 of 2)
Apex Express: Occupation of the Statue Of Liberty in 1977
NPR: Civil Rights Champion Yuri Kochiyama Dies at 93
NPR: Yuri Kochiyama: Passing it on
latimes.com: Yuri Kochiyama dies at 93; civil rights activist, friend of Malcolm X
Washingtonpost.com:Yuri Kochiyama, ’60s civil rights activist and friend of Malcolm X’s, dies at 93
New York Times: Yuri Kochiyama, Rights Activist Who Befriended Malcolm X, Dies at 93
Chicago Sun-Times.com: Yuri Kochiyama, 93, activist held Malcolm X after shooting
smithsonianapa.org: Folk Hero Yuri Kochiyama

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

One comment on “Lia Chang Multimedia: Ambassador Attalah Shabazz, Tomie Arai, Jamal Joseph, Janice Robinson, Soh Daiko, Taiyo Na and More Celebrate the Life of Yuri Kochiyama in New York

  1. Tomie Arai
    June 1, 2015

    Thanks, Lia. This is a beautiful tribute to Yuri and the Kochiyama family.

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This entry was posted on October 25, 2014 by in Asian American Artists, Asian American Pioneers, Dance, Entertainment, Events, Japanese American History, Music, New York, Obituaries & Memorials, Performance Photography, Theater and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .