Top photo - Laminated copy of the first ever issue of Gidra. What is Gidra?
"In April 1969 a group of students at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) founded a newspaper dubbed Gidra, a monthly publication that took a radically progressive political position. These five students—Mike Murase, Dinora Gil, Laura Ho, Colin Watanabe, and Tracy Okida—desired a visual media that would bring to light issues not featured in the mainstream media. Dubbed by the authors as the “Voice of the Asian American Movement” Gidra ran from 1969 until its final issue was published in April 1974. " (More on Gidra Here)
Bottom photo - to the right of Traci Akemi Kato-Kiryama are several of the founding staff members of Gidra; Mike Murase, Evelyn Yoshimura, Doug Aihara, and unfortunately I didn’t get the name of the woman in the red coat.
These photos were taken last night at the 1st & 3rd Tuesday Night Cafe in Little Tokyo. As part of the programming of the Tuesday Night Project, the Tuesday Night Cafe is on it’s 15th year…woohoo! Last nights reading was standing room only, making it obvious that TNP’s mission and the communities needs are aligned just right. The amount of creativity and caliber of talent was just a tiny bit of proof of how much this city has to offer.
But what I wasn’t aware of was Gidra. Another layer of Los Angeles, proof yet again that there’s more to Los Angeles than just creativity and talent. The people of Los Angeles have a history of using creativity to build a foundation of strength, a voice for political advocacy.
And these guys are still active in the community. Last night they were asked how they avoided “burn-out,” something I’ve personally been researching a lot lately, and Mike Murase’s response was -
"We never became cynical, we still have hope, and we still believe in what we do."