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Celebrating Yuri Kochiyama (May 19, 1921 – June 1, 2014)

Updated: Nov 4, 2021


Born on this day May 19th in California, Mary Yuriko Nakahara, was a human rights and social justice activist. In the 1960s, she changed her name to Yuri to identify with her Japanese ancestry. Saying "No!" to the erasure that taking on other names seeks and instead embracing her roots.


After experiencing the death of her father and enduring internment at the hands of the US government, Yuri became an activist devoting her life to the struggle for liberation. She is widely known for a photo showing her cradling her friend, Malcolm X's head, after he was shot. However, she was a powerful force in her own right, and deserves honor and praise for her work to further civil and human rights, and social justice.


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