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Posted by: Yahairah Aristy on May 20, 2021

Among the many lessons we all have learned during the pandemic, we have learned the real meaning of cabin fever. We have learned that having our freedom of movement restrained even for our own health and safety was difficult and unimaginable long-term. This unimaginable truth despite the fact that we had access to the comforts and niceties in our own homes. We certainly were not incarcerated in our own homes like Yuri Kochiyama was during Japanese internment in the United States. 

Kochiyama, born on May 19, 1921 in San Pedro, California, was sent to a Japanese internment camp along with tens of thousands of other Japanese Americans after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  She was incarcerated in the internment camp from 1941-1944. This experience served as the catalyst for her civil rights activism. She said “I didn’t wake up and decide to become an activist. But you couldn’t help notice the inequities, the injustices. It was all around you.” Kochiyama advocated for reparations and a formal government apology for Japanese American prisoners through the Civil Liberties Act.

Kochiyama shows us what activism in action looks like – a vision that is most needed today as we witness the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that, while worlds away from us, is  a human rights issue that impacts us all and begs our activism for the innocent people, especially children and women being killed during this conflict.

Activism is not static – it adapts to our individual abilities, resources, and preferences.  It can be as simple as a conversation with others or a social media post to raise awareness. I urge all Lawyers Club members to find your activist voice to advocate for the innocent lives being killed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 
 


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