R.I.P. Yuri Kochiyama: For All The Free by Jef Castro

Last night, news broke across social media that legendary human rights activist Yuri Kochiyama had passed away. Official news sources were slow to confirm, but sadly, it was true. The world had lost another titan of history — less than a week from the day Maya Angelou was taken from us, no less. The universe can be cruel sometimes.

As part of the digital comic I edited in conjunction with the Smithsonian‘s touring “I Want the Wide American Earth” Asian American history exhibit last September, I commissioned my fellow SIUniverse alum Jef Castro to create bookend pieces for the book that were inspired by the Carlos Bulosan poem from which the exhibit drew its name.

The piece below, featuring images of Yuri, Grace Lee Boggs and Bruce Lee with Bulosan’s words “for all the free,” closes the e-book, illustrating how our history inspires and shapes future generations. I was part of a generation of Asian Americans who were deeply moved and inspired by Yuri’s contribution to the struggle.

Click here for the rest of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s digital comic, I Want the Wide American Earth.

Rest in power, Yuri. When I grow up, I want to be just like you.