Amy Uyematsu is a Japanese-American poet who uses her writing to depict the tension between the Japanese culture of her family and the American culture of her environment. In 1969, she penned the essay “The Emergence of Yellow Power”, which asserted the Asian American identity; this was influenced by the consciousness-raising theories of Black Power.
Emma Gee co-founded the Asian American Political Alliance at UC Berkeley in order to build solidarity and mobilize individuals of color during the Asian American Movement. She challenged the pejorative term “Orientals” and coined the term “Asian American”.
Grace Lee Boggs was a Chinese American author, social activist, philosopher, and feminist. As a daughter of immigrants, she resolved to devote her life to change in a nation of inequalities and discrimination against minorities and women. She continued her seven decade long human rights activism until her 90s , writing her fifth book, “The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century”.
Katherine Sui Fun Cheung was the first Chinese American to earn her pilot’s license, at a time when only about 1 percent of licensed American pilots were women. Uninterested in the prospect of being a housewife, she pursued a life of adventure. When she married, she kept her last name and continued her career.
Tura Satana, born of Japanese, Filipino, Cheyenne Indian, and Scots-Irish descent, was an American actress. As a child, Tura was imprisoned at Japanese American WWII internment camp and was a victim of brutal, racially-motivated gang rape. She took those experiences and reinvented herself into a world famous burlesque dancer. She was the ultimate self-empowered female icon who portrayed several feisty characters throughout her career.
Yuri Kochiyama was an influential Japanese American activist who advocated for many causes, from Black separatism, the anti-war movement, Maoist revolution, reparations for Japanese-American internees, to the rights of people imprisoned by the U.S. government. Her passion for social justice began when her father was arrested by the FBI after Pearl Harbor and she organized a letter writing campaign to the Japanese American soldiers. Kochiyama stated, “The legacy I would like to leave is that people try to build bridges and not walls.”