Kiyoshi Kuromiya and the Unspoken Struggle

Kiyoshi Kuromiya

Kiyoshi Kuromiya’s voice of resistance was part of a collective cry vocalized by radical queer, trans and gender non conforming people of color who battled imperialism, racism, the criminalization of HIV/AIDS, and the prison industrial complex For the last 40 years.  His life is a testament to queer and/or trans of color peoples’ participation in the civil rights, black power, New Left, queer and AIDS activist social movements and history.  This spirit, and legacy, of queer people of color’s resistance and resilience remains vital and relevant.

While the term “people of color” can function to collapse distinctions of race and place — I use it as a placeholder rather than an absolute category. Finally, I use queer as an optic or even a trace through which multiple forms of both non and anti-heteronormative sexualities are made visible.

On April 12th  1942, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, authorizing the forced migration and incarceration of more than 112,000 Japanese people in confinement camps during World War II.  On May 9th, 1943 Kiyoshi Kuromiya was born at Heart Mountain Hospital, inside a Wyoming camp. Kuromiya stayed in that US Concentration Camp for two years.  His uncle Yoshi Kuromiya, a member of the Heart Mountain Play Fair committee, was among the sixty-three war draft resisters prosecuted and sentenced to prison terms in June of 1944.   Following release from the Heart Mountain internment camp in 1945, Kuromiya’s family moved to Monrovia, California.  It was in the ultra conservative, sex negative atmosphere in suburban Los Angeles of the 1950s where he grew up.

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