On the Airwaves: Remembering Yuri Kochiyama (part 1)

Photo by Bob Hsiang
Photo by Bob Hsiang

APEX Express

The Apex Express crew was saddened to hear of Yuri Kochiyama’s passing this weekend. Yuri Kochiyma. That name is a bell toll for this disparate group of radio journalists and organizers. Her die-hard radicalism, as much as her die-hard compassion and warmth, drove many of us into the movement and kept us there. Not only has she inspired us, but in a generous act of giving, APEXer Karl Jagbandhansingh has been her caretaker for many years. So it is with a heavy heart that we produce this week’s show. While the mainstream press’s lackluster coverage recognize Yuri’s association with Malcolm X as her claim to fame and note her participation (with her husband Bill) in the movement for redress and reparations for Japanese Americans, we know Yuri’s politics were much more broad than that. Over the next two weeks, in remembrance and celebration of Yuri Kochiyama, APEX Express will feature rare recordings including:

  • an interview with Yuri about the 1977 take over of the Statue of Liberty to demand the release of Puerto Rican political prisoners
  • her speech to Laney’s API Heritage Celebration in 2002
  • tape from Yuri’s surprise 80th birthday including interviews with I-Hotel tenants Bill Sorro and Emil Deguzman, Betita Martinez, and many, many more
  • Yuri talking about APA-African American solidarity
  • an interview with Professor Diane Fujino who published Heartbeat of Struggle

And this week, we invite our listeners to call in with your memories of Yuri as as we bring the community together to share in our collective celebration of a full and powerful life.

APEX Express is a weekly magazine-style radio show featuring the voices and stories of Asians and Pacific Islanders from all corners of our community.  The show is produced by a collective of media makers, djs, and activists and airs each week on KPFA 94.1FM. APEX Express is committed to building a broader social movement for justice and collective liberation for all oppressed people, including poor & working-class people, people of color, women and queer people.  We support grassroots organizing and cultural work that advance these goals, and see APEX as a space for building consciousness and promoting critical discussion about these efforts. Like what you hear? Show your support for independent community media that is free and accessible to everyone by sharing this broadcast of ideas, news, and views with your network of thinkers & doers.