Yuri Kochiyama: Activist, Radical, Inspiration

by Sammie Wills, ‘16

Scrolling through Facebook in an attempt to procrastinate usually results in banal posts and time wasted. Yet, when I opened up my newsfeed on June 1st, my heart sank and my breath was knocked out of me.

Yesterday, legendary activist, radical, and revolutionary Yuri Kochiyama passed away in her sleep at the age of 93.

She lived 93 years filled with resistance and organizing at levels that I can only strive to fully honor. Yuri Kochiyama spent her life as an Asian-American activist, organizing around racial justice and human justice, showing us what it means to truly work in solidarity across boundaries.

Credits: 18 Million Rising

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A Role for Everybody: Loretta Ross Reminds Us of the Power of Intersectionality, Provides Accessible Reproductive Justice 101

by Jovel Queirolo, ’14

Loretta Ross 1

Loretta Ross speaks on reproductive justice.

“I can honestly promise you that there’s so much oppression going around, that there’s a role for everybody in it. There’s no way we’re going to run out of oppression before you figure out what you wanna do.”Loretta Ross.

Last night, over 90 people filled the Black Community Services Center to hear professional feminist Loretta Ross speak about her work and experience with the field of reproductive justice.

After an introduction by Professor Estelle Freedman, Ross gave a talk on the complexities of intersectional social justice work through the lens of reproductive justice.

Every time Ross noticed a late-comer to the event, she stopped mid-sentence and invited them to come sit closer – a sense of inclusion that permeated the event. Ross captured in 90 minutes a way of approaching intersectionality that event organizers as well as campus activists said they strive to bring to their work.

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7 LGBT Issues that Matter More than Marriage

by Holly Fetter, B.A. ‘13 + M.A. ‘14

From the death of DOMA to Macklemore’s “Same Love,” it’s been an exciting few months for the mainstream LGBT movement.

But what you might not know is that LGBT rights are about more than marriage. LGBT justice should be about empowering all queer people everywhere, which probably won’t happen just because people can legally marry people of the same gender.

There are some queer activists who envision a movement for justice that goes beyond marriage. Some folks think we should get rid of marriage altogether, while others think that mainstream LGBT organizations should shift their focus to other issues.

Since we all secretly prefer reading about political issues when they’re presented in lists and gifs, here are 7 issues that the mainstream LGBT rights movement should prioritize over marriage equality (in no particular order): Continue Reading

DEFEND OUR HONOR: Respecting Native Culture Through Our Mutual Love for Stanford

by Jovel Queirolo ’14

SAIO Committee members handing out "Defend Out Honor" tanks at activities fair last Friday. Pictured from left to right: Carly Chiwiwi '16, Jessie Militante '16, MichaeLynn Kanichy '14, DeAndra McLaughlin '15

SAIO Committee members handing out “Defend Out Honor” tanks at activities fair last Friday. Pictured from left to right: Carly Chiwiwi ’16, Jessie Militante ’16, MichaeLynn Kanichy ’14, DeAndra McLaughlin ’15

SAIO has been working for years on addressing the problematic nature of Stanford’s former mascot, the Stanford Indians. But the student group — with the help of the student body — is taking on a new approach, which is aimed at uniting students around the issue instead of polarizing it.

Here is a statement by Maxine Fonua ’14 who was handing out “Defend Our Honor” tank tops at activities fair last Friday:

“The issue is nothing new… But I believe the way we decided to approach it is a first. References to the Stanford Indian mascot just never seem to end. With the shirts, we wanted to stay away from anything that would trigger a negative reaction. Many previous SAIO attempts to end the mascot/spread awareness of cultural appropriations had very stinging slogans like, ‘the Anti-Mascot Campaign,’ ‘I am NOT your party theme,’ or ‘Native people are NOT a costume.’ Ideally, such words would grab someone’s attention. But unfortunately Stanford students turn their heads away from campaigns like that – either because they don’t want to feel the sting, or they have become numb to it.

With the new ‘Defend Our Honor’ campaign, we wanted to build upon what most students care for – their love for Stanford. The bro tank, the football double meaning, the GO CARD on the back. We wanted students to take everything they love about their college experience, and top it off with respecting Native culture. Because that is the honorable, Stanford thing to do. The subtlety of the shirts – like the SAIO acronym and the hashtag – is meant to invite questioning and curiosity. That way, the message can be easily shared with those who ask and trigger in-depth conversations.”

To learn more and to get involved, visit: saio.stanford.edu.



Jovel Queirolo is a senior from the San Francisco Bay Area majoring in Biology with a focus on Ecology and Evolution. Upon graduation, she will complete a teacher preparation program and hopefully be in the classroom teaching high school biology in a couple years. She is interested patterns of community ecology within human societies and among harvester ant colonies. She hopes to draw on these connections to teach, learn and work with the next generation of social and environmental activists.

Three Reasons to Support Divestment From Fossil Fuels

by Jared Naimark, ’14


Last Monday March 4th, student activists from Fossil Free Stanford, Students for a Sustainable Stanford, and a host of other environmental groups gathered in White Plaza in a day of solidarity with hundreds of campuses all over the country, to show their support for the movement to divest from fossil fuels.  This day of action, punnily dubbed “March Forth on Climate Justice” was the kick-off of our first ever Environmental Justice Week, a series of events aimed at raising awareness about the ways environmental issues intersect with issues of social justice and human rights.  Below is a version of a speech I gave at the rally, explaining three reasons why I support divestment from fossil fuels. Continue Reading

Our Challenge

by K. Blaqk, ’14


The title of this piece is “Our Challenge.” Over fall quarter I discovered the “Nu Rainbow,” which replaces the traditional ROYGBIV spectrum with one representing the variety of colors  of human beings. This move felt especially important to me, as I was starting to see the urgency in queer politics taking on an explicitly anti-racist agenda as well. Lumped into queer issues and racism are also structural class inequality, problems of imperialism and militarism. So, “Our Challenge” is first to build a coalition of marginalized and oppressed peoples and then to channel that organization into a form of resistance and way of remaking the world around us. Continue Reading