YURI creates educational resources and experiences for cultural institutions, teachers, and PK-12 students. With a specialty in creating curricula on Asian American histories and stories, we aim to teach the power of coalition building in order to create understanding across diverse communities. By expanding the historical narrative, we believe knowledge can create bridges rather than division. We develop pedagogies that deepen comprehension of our society, cultivate empathy, and encourage learners to draw connections between history and the present.
Knowing history gives communities the wisdom for building bridges today.
UCLA Asian American Studies Gidra Photo Collection
In 2016, YURI co-founders Cathlin Goulding and Freda Lin met at a pilgrimage to Tule Lake. These pilgrimages invite people to return to a former prison camp that incarcerated Japanese Americans during World War II. At the time, Freda -- a Taiwanese American hailing from Long Island -- was working as the education program director for the Fred T. Korematsu Institute. A descendant of Japanese American prisoners, Cath was researching the pilgrimage for a dissertation at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Freda and Cath located commonalities between their personal histories and praxis as educators. Their meeting was the start of the YURI Education Project. Both former classroom teachers, they united in a shared mission to bring Asian American stories and histories into PK-12 schools. This perspective was missing not only from their own PK-12 education but also from their later teacher education programs. They founded YURI to bring rich, accessible curriculum to learners and the teachers who are creating inviting, culturally responsive learning environments for ALL students.
When they decided to create their own education project, Cath and Freda thought about the people who influenced their day-to-day work as educators. They wanted to name the project after a person who embodied their feminist, anti-imperialist values. They wanted someone who was embedded across geographies, as they, too, inhabited multiple coastal cities in the U.S. and remained connected to transnational identities. And as people vested in working across racial lines, too, Cath and Freda wanted their project to fully reflect anti-racist solidarity.
So, given this line of thinking, YURI Education Project is named after Yuri Kochiyama.
As a young girl who was incarcerated with her family and approximately 120,000 other Americans of Japanese ancestry, Yuri Kochiyama understood the meaning of injustice. This experience shaped her compassion to lead and work with communities of various backgrounds in their struggles for change. Her collaboration with Malcolm X and the Black Panthers, advocacy for Puerto Rican independence, the pursuit of redress and reparations for the imprisonment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and support of the ethnic studies movements in universities and colleges are all an inspiration to Cath and Freda. Yuri forged connections and built bridges between communities.