Google pays tribute to Kiyoshi Kuromiya [#Doodle]

Since today, Google offers us once again a brand new commemorative logo. Today’s Doodle celebrates the inspiring life of Kiyoshi Kuromiya and the legacy of activism he left behind. He has been involved in movements such as civil rights, anti-war, gay liberation, HIV/AIDS education and more. On May 4, 2019, Kuromiya was inducted into the National LGBTQ Wall of Honor at the Stonewall National Monument.

After the outbreak of World War II and due to Executive Order 9066, Kuromiya’s parents were among more than 120,000 Japanese Americans forcibly relocated to government prison camps (aka Japanese internment camps). Kuromiya was born in an internment camp in northern Wyoming on May 9, 1943.

After the war ended, Kuromiya’s family moved to California, where, as an Asian-American gay man attending predominantly Caucasian schools, he experienced what it was like to be perceived as different. He later shared that he didn’t know any terminology around gay culture due to a lack of literature. As a result, Kuromiya used his public library to learn more about his identity.

He then attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he was inspired by the civil rights movement and found his footing as a social activist. He was one of the few Asian Americans to participate in the marches from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. He also cultivated a close relationship with the Black Panther Party and championed intersectional solidarity among oppressed communities.

Kuromiya participated with the gay pioneers in the first organized demonstrations on gay and lesbian civil rights which took place at Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell each July 4, 1965 to 1969. During this period, the Vietnam War was raging and he raised awareness on the UPenn campus of the inhumane use of napalm and designed an influential poster to protest the project.

When the AIDS epidemic began to devastate the gay community, Kuromiya turned his activism efforts to raising awareness about the virus. He became a self-taught expert after being diagnosed with AIDS and became involved with groups such as ACT UP Philadelphia and People with AIDS (PWA). In 1989 he founded the Critical Path Project, the first organization to provide a 24-hour helpline to the gay community.

In addition to being inducted into the National LGBTQ Wall of Honor at Stonewall, he was named the winner of the San Francisco Rainbow Honor Walk in 2018. As a proud gay man and AIDS survivor, Kuromiya has served as a vocal leader for groups marginalized and fought zealously for social justice.

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