Yuji is a pioneer in the field of ethnic studies. We both graduated from Berkeley High School and I was one of the students who benefitted from taking ethnic studies classes about both African American and Raza studies departments. Yuji was born in 1936 in San Francisco California. He and his family were imprisoned during WW2. Yuji joined the army and studied at Columbia University and UC Berkeley. He is the first person to use the term “Asian American” and was involved in the late 60’s in the third world strike protests at UC Berkeley and San Francisco State where there would later be the first college with an ethnic studies program. He was also instrumental in founding the Asian American studies center at UCLA which he co-founded withVicci Wong. He authored books (A Buried Past) , volunteered in his community, and helped to push forward and found the modern conversation on ethnic studies which is basically reviving stories about people of color that have been lost, looked over, omitted, and or erased. One of the most powerful things about an Asian American department or term besides educating other people who don’t know, is uniting Asians from different countries and backgrounds and that unity is why I titled this series “Kindred Journey”. Yuji passed away in 2002.
Sources: SF Gate, LA Times, Asian American Activism Tumblr
You can purchase this original illustration $40 (includes shipping within the U.S.) by emailing me at email@example.com (a portion will be donated to the Yuji Ichioka Endowed Chair in Social Justice Studies, c/o UCLA Asian American Studies Center)