Black History Month: Activist Highlight #2


The published article can be found here.

For Black History Month 2018, the Civic Engagement team highlighted Grace Lee Boggs and Yuri Kochiyama. Snippets of the article can be found below:

One activist we would like to highlight this month, is Grace Lee Boggs. She was best known for her contributions to movements on issues such as women’s rights, civil rights, labor rights, and Black empowerment. Boggs’ journey in activism began in the city of Chicago when she ran into a group of people protesting the poor living conditions they had. She explained, “I was aware that people were suffering, but it was more of a statistical thing. Here in Chicago I was coming into contact with it as a human thing.” Her ability to empathize and her compassion for other people are clear values in her activism. She, alongside with her husband and friends like Malcolm X, were on a mission to shift how society viewed and treated those without power.


Yuri Kochiyama, Japanese-American, who was forced into an internment camp in Arkansas. experienced several acts of prejudice and institutionalized racism. Her experiences led her to become active in the Civil Rights Movement, where she befriended Malcolm X, which whom influenced her ideas greatly. Yuri Kochiyama dedicated her life to advocating for various causes such as anti-war, the African-American liberation movement, reparations for Japanese-Americans and many more. She organized the East Coast Japanese Americans for Redress with her husband, which eventually pushed the U.S. Government to give reparations out to Japanese-American families that suffered from the internment camps. Her role as an activist transformed her into having mentor type role for several Asian-American movements that grew around that time. She was a lifelong champion for civil rights, and her commitment to fighting for equality will always be remembered. She was honored in 2005 with a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.


Posted on

February 26, 2018