Inspiration of the Day: Yuri Kochiyama


When news fled all over my Facebook that we had lost a well-respected Japanese-American womxn activist earlier this month named Yuri Kochiyama– I was sad to realize I had never heard her name before. I did not know who this leader of change was and had been living my life of newly found “consciousness” without even acknowledging the progressive impact she made for us, through the relationships she fostered and had the unwavering resilience to forge. I saw posts from my friends in Ethnic Studies and Asian American Studies who were thankful to have learned about such a strong-minded and will-powered Asian-American activist that they could identify with. Now, I don’t regret taking the pathway I chose at the university because in many ways, it truly shaped me to become the advocate for equality I am today– but I do hope that in the years to come, this womxn of change will be recognized and acknowledged more than our system deems appropriate. I hope stories like Yuri’s do not get pushed over to the edge of our textbook pages (if the narrative is even printed) where we often misread, misinterpret, or even skim over and miss ultimately. Reading about her crossings with Malcolm X and seeing the visual image of her holding Malcom X when he was assassinated was an inspiring moment in my online research life. Yuri Kochiyama, you truly paved the way for both Asian-American/womxn activists and played an integral part in building the bridge to heal this still-present gap between the oppressed.

Oh and– I just realized we share the same birthday… and you know I believe that’s a powerful force in itself.

“Remember that consciousness is power. Consciousness is education and knowledge. Consciousness is becoming aware. It is the perfect vehicle for students. Consciousness-raising is pertinent for power, and be sure that power will not be abusively used, but used for building trust and goodwill domestically and internationally. Tomorrow’s world is yours to build.”

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Giving Thanks…

This year, I am especially thankful for the group of individuals I can call my family away from home and the opportunity I have been blessed with to continue the amazing legacy of Main Stacks. I am so grateful to be part of this inspiring dance family that goes beyond all expectations of a hip hop competitive dance team. One of the many things we do as an organization is host the annual Prelude Urban Dance Competition Series in Northern California. Not only is this one of my personal favorite events of the year– I can confidently say the entire NorCal Dance Community looks forward to our show and this year… WE SOLD OUT!!! Every year, the experience is heightened for our dancers and audience; this year, we added more vendors, a food truck, a live Instagram feed, branded lanyards, etc.! I am honestly amazed every year by how much work our team puts in outside of constructing our competitive set (plus school and work). Even in my third year as the hosts of Prelude, I feel all the inspiration and joy the event brings as if it was my first or second Prelude Norcal. It is a blessing to be part of such a hardworking group of individuals who are so community-driven and who strive for perfection. The NorCal Dance Community has given me so much as an aspiring dancer and I am more than glad to have the opportunity to give back to this community whenever I get the chance– especially at Prelude Norcal. I am truly thankful for all the opportunities that have been given to me since I moved to Cal more than two years ago as they have shaped me to be the person I am today. Thank you Main Stacks (in particular) for being the concentrated outlet that has molded, trained, and inspired me to never cease growing– to go beyond my own limits.

You continue to inspire me each day.

Sammy D.