Skip to main content
Housing and COVID-19: the latest public health guidelines and testing information.

Yuri Kochiyama Multicultural Lounge

Kochiyama is well known for her liberation support work for political prisoners and reparation advocacy for Japanese Americans who were in internment camps.  

Yuri Kochiyama Multicultural Lounge is located in South Quadrangle.

The Yuri Kochiyama Multicultural Lounge is located on the first floor of South Quad.

Hours

  • monday: 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.
  • tuesday: 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.
  • wednesday: 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.
  • thursday: 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.
  • friday: 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.
  • saturday: 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.
  • sunday: 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.

Yuri Kochiyama was born in San Pedro, CA in 1922 to Japanese immigrants. She graduated from Compton Junior College, where she studied English, journalism, and art. After Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, Kochiyama and her family were held in internment camps. Her experience there led her to support the civil rights movement, black liberation, black and Asian American solidarity, and government redress for internment.

Kochiyama met her husband, Bill Kochiyama, while interned. They moved to Harlem, NY, where they joined the Harlem Parents Committee and the Congress of Racial Equality. Kochiyama was also a member of the Organization for Afro-American Unity (OAAU), and a close friend of Malcolm X. She is well-known for the photograph of her holding Malcolm X after he was shot at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem in 1965. After Kochiyama’s death in 2014, the White House recognized her for dedicating her life to social justice for all communities of color. The Yuri Kochiyama Lounge in South Quad was dedicated on April 17, 1999. Kochiyama visited South Quad before the interior design of the lounge was completed.

Civic Engagement Work

Under President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, Yuri Kochiyama and her family were sent to an internment camp in Arkansas for two years. This experience made her highly aware of governmental abuse and would motivate her to engage in political struggles.

Kochiyama met Malcom X in October 1963 during a protest against the arrest of around 600 minority construction workers in Brookley. Radicalized, she joined the pan-Africanist Organization of Afro-American unity which advocated for racial justice and human rights. Sixteen months after their initial meeting, Kochiyama would hold a dying Malcolm X in her lap after his assassination. Kochiyama remained committed to causes in the Black, Latino, and Asian American communities decades after her brief friendship with Malcolm X.

Kochiyama became a mentor to the radical proponents of the Asian American movement that grew during and after the Vietnam War protests. She organized the East Coast Japanese Americans for Redress and Reparations alongside her husband Bill Kochiyama. They advocated for reparations and a government apology for the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. She founded the Day or Remembrance Committee in New York City to commemorate the day President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized Executive Order 9066. President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act in 1988 which, among other things, awarded $20,000 to each Japanese American internment survivor. Kochiyama used this victory to advocate for reparations for African Americans.

Help