YURI provides educational resources and experiences through an Asian American lens. By expanding the narratives of history, we believe knowledge can create bridges rather than division. We aim to teach the power of coalition building to create understanding across diverse communities. We develop pedagogies that deepen comprehension of our society, cultivate empathy, and encourage learners to draw connections between history and the present.
Historically, the Asian American community played a vital role in connecting communities together. Framing these intersections from this lens illuminates what’s missing from the dominant story. Telling the 1960s farmworkers movement from a Filipino perspective, for example, shows that Larry Itliong, Philip Vera Cruz, and other Filipino farmworkers began the Grape Boycott by building a coalition with Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, and Mexican farmworkers. By leaving this perspective out, people would not know the pivotal part Filipinos had in gaining more rights for farm workers and the importance of building coalitions to make this change happen.
Knowing this history gives communities the wisdom for building bridges today.
ABOUT YURI KOCHIYAMA
Our project is named after Yuri Kochiyama, a lifelong activist who embodied the meaning of coalition building. As a young girl who was incarcerated with her family and approximately 120,000 other Americans of Japanese ancestry, she 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 Japanese American 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 an inspiration to us. Yuri forged connections and built bridges between communities.