Musician, Teacher, Activist Chris Ijima’s Legacy Celebrated

If you live in Honolulu, you might want to check out tonight's panel discussion and screening of A Song for Ourselves, a new documentary about the late University of Hawaii law professor Chris Ijima, who died in 2005. Ijima was also a musician as well as an influential activist around Asian-American issues.

A Honolulu Weekly cover story describes his funeral:
From Los Angeles anti-gang activists to Puerto Rican nationalists, from music buffs to civil rights historians to Hawaiian sovereignty activists, from former New York schoolchildren to California filmmakers, Chris Iijima was a respected leader across a stunning spectrum of mainstream American and Asian American life, and in ways many of his friends–and even his children–were unaware of. But in his passing, he brought these worlds together.

The Harlem-born Japanese-American was a member of Students for a Democratic Society who opposed the Vietnam War. As a member of Yellow Pearl he performed original political folk music with singer Nobuko Miyamoto, with whom he recorded the influential album A Grain of Sand: Music for the Struggle by Asians in America. He became involved in the Hawaii sovereignty movement after moving to the islands, but may be best known for his work with Ulu Lehua, the University of Hawaii's groundbreaking program to provide legal training to students from poor communities who may lack the educational or economic backgrounds traditionally necessary to attend law school.

Nobuko Miyamoto sings Ijima's "A Song for Ourselves":