The Story Behind Corky Lee’s Photo of Yuri Kochiyama #ArtTuesday
Yuri Kochiyama was one of the most important political activists, helping people of all backgrounds fight oppression. The photo of her captured by photographer Corky Lee shows the importance of protest and community.
One of the most iconic images of Yuri Kochiyama shows the young political activist cradling the head of her friend, Malcolm X, as he lay dying after being gunned down by assassins. This memorable scene reflects only a moment in the decades-long civic activism of this driven, passionate hero and champion of the dispossessed. Kochiyama would spend her entire adult life working tirelessly to protect the rights of all Americans living at the margins of society.
As a survivor of the U.S. camps that held Japanese nationals and Japanese Americans in incarceration camps during World War II, she formed the foundations of her life’s work to reach out to anyone she felt was being crushed by the white majority. She helped Puerto Ricans seeking independence, African Americans struggling to find equality, and many others, placing no borders on her willingness to fight the good fight. Yuri Kochiyama would have been 100 years old on May 21, in a month dedicated to Asian Pacific American Heritage.
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