45 Kiyoshi Kuromiya Quotes That Still Resonate Today

man fighting for LGBT rights

Today, we’re diving into some of the best Kiyoshi Kuromiya quotes that stand the test of time to this day.

In a turbulent era marked by the Civil Rights Movement and the AIDS epidemic, Kiyoshi Kuromiya stood as an irrefutable force for change. 

Born in a World War II internment camp, Kuromiya went on to become a civil rights crusader, an early champion of LGBT rights, and a relentless AIDS activist. 

But what often gets overshadowed is the eloquence of his words about complex ideas like social justice, equality, and activism. Kiyoshi’s quotes are cornerstones of thought that continue to inspire new generations of activists and free-thinkers today.

For those eager to blend intellectual curiosity with meaningful action, Kuromiya serves as an enduring guide, providing mentorship through his thought-provoking quotes.

Kiyoshi Kuromiya Quotes About Life

  • “I was told that I was a criminal without knowing it. And it instilled this level of shame in me, so from that point on, I think there was always this aspect of misbehaving or maybe even living on the wild side or being on the wrong side of the law.”
  • “I am a survivor, not a victim.”
  • “We are all prisoners of our past, and our future is determined by our past.”
  • “It was tough growing up Japanese and having rocks thrown at you on your way to grade school, that kind of thing. I think facing that adversity early on made me into who I am today.”
  • “The only way to change the world is to be actively engaged in it.”
  • “We wanted the press to concentrate on the fact that we can look and act like everybody else, despite having different beliefs. We believed that we could all come together for a common goal.”
  • “It is better to die for a cause than to live a life of lies.”
  • “I don’t think many people are in touch with their true nature. If more people would get in touch with who they really are, they’d embark on the journey of a lifetime.”

kiyoshi kuromiya quote

  • “Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves.”
  • “Our lives begin to end the day we get silent about the things that matter.”
  • “There were eight people in my extended family who were third generation. And three out of the eight are gay that I know of.”
  • “When I was arrested in this park, I was put in juvenile hall for three days. They said, “Well gee, we’ve never seen a Japanese American here.”
  • “I guess I was a bit unhappy about the idea that I had to seek a social life in a bar.”

Kiyoshi Kuromiya Quotes About Activism

  • “To me, activism is a form of spirituality. It’s about doing what you can to make the world a better place.”
  • “The first step in the transformation of a society is the transformation of the individual.”
  • “When I grew up, this was not a place or time to be open about anything that was not mainstream.”
  • “Early on, I was arrested in a public park with a sixteen year old. I was nine or ten at the time. And there was another incident when I was eleven. My parents, of course, were very embarrassed and shocked and thought I would grow out of it.”
  • “We must open our hearts and our minds if we are to overcome the stigma and discrimination that continue to fuel the AIDS epidemic.”
  • “The gap between rich and poor countries is one of the most important risk factors for the spread of HIV.”
  • “We must stand in solidarity with those who are marginalized and fight for their rights, even when it does not directly benefit us.”

kiyoshi kuromiya quote on wall

  • “I’ve never smoked cigarettes, but numerous times I’ve been burned by cigarettes.”
  • “I don’t know what ‘patently offensive’ means in terms of providing life-saving information to people with AIDS, including teenagers.”
  • “It took ten years to get a drug through the FDA. We took ladders to the FDA building for the Merck protease inhibitor. And I was the only PWA that sat on the panel that recommended that the FDA approve Prixovan. And there are something like two hundred thousand people using it now.”
  • “We were wearing coats and ties because we wanted to make a good impression. The first impression, you know. We aren’t monsters.”
  • “I really believe that activism is therapeutic.”
  • “In 1983 my mother and I visited the site of this concentration camp, which the government called a relocation center for Japanese Americans during World War Two, two-thirds of whom were American citizens. I am fascinated with that part of history and I’m sure it affected my own activism.”

Kiyoshi Kuromiya Quotes About Civil Rights

Enjoying this list of quotes so far? Then you’ll probably also enjoy these life is too short quotes or this list of famous Ruby Bridges quotes.

If you’d just prefer to keep reading, then here’s more insightful quotes by Kiyoshi Kuromiya about civil rights.

  • “Civil rights are not a gift for a few, but a birthright that every individual deserves to claim and protect.”
  • “True liberation comes from standing up for the rights of all individuals to see a true change.”
  • “It was the idea that we don’t want to put down someone who may be different than us. We don’t want to put down someone because he’s internalized things and they’ve come out in some distorted way.”
  • “I think in the early days of a movement, there’s a level of life and death camaraderie that’s got to be in there.”
  • “I was surrounded by the sheriff’s volunteer posse. They were specifically going after me. They cornered me against the wall and clubbed me on the head. I had twenty stitches down my head. The last thing people saw was me with a blood-soaked shirt down to my waist.”
  • The fight for rights and liberation is not a one-time event, but a continuous struggle that requires our sheer commitment.”

inspirational quote on blue wall

  • “Rights are not given, they are fought for and earned through activism and advocacy.”
  • “Access to information is the cornerstone of democracy.”
  • “We can’t deal with the racism out there until we deal with it within ourselves.”
  • “The greatest movement for social justice our country has ever known is the Civil Rights Movement, and it was totally rooted in a love ethic.”
  • “Children holding hands, walking with the wind. That is America to me. Not just the movement for civil rights, but the endless struggle to respond to all the challenges that face us.”

Kiyoshi Kuromiya Quotes On Peace

  • “The most powerful weapon in the world is not a gun or a bomb, it is our own minds and our ability to think critically.”
  • “Peace brings with it so many great things that it is worth aiming for in all circumstances.”
  • “We must learn to see the world through the eyes of our enemies, and to understand their point of view.”
  • “There can be no peace without justice.”
  • “The cycle of violence can only be broken by those who are willing to risk their lives for the sake of peace.”
  • “Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where the people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free.”

quote about world peace

  • ”Violence is a cancer that must be diagnosed and removed from our society if we are to survive.”
  • “We must learn to live together as comrades rather than as enemies.”
  • “Peace can be a lens through which you see the world.”
  • “Peace is a question of will. All conflicts can be settled, and there are no excuses for allowing them to become eternal.”
  • “Peace doesn’t mean staying centered in a place without chaos or pain. It means staying calm and centered in the face of them.”

Remembering Kiyoshi Kuromiya’s Life

As we wrap up these Kiyoshi Kuromiya’s quotes, it’s clear that he did his part to make the world a better place.

Born in challenging times, Kuromiya rose to become a fighter for civil rights, LGBT equality, and AIDS awareness. The impact of his actions on society cannot be understated.

We’ve looked at his perspectives on everything from social justice to personal growth, and hopefully, you’ve found a quote or two that speaks to you. Kuromiya’s words remind us that change starts within, and from there it can ripple out into the world. 

Whether you’re an activist, a thinker, or just trying to gain a deeper understanding of the world, Kuromiya’s words offer a roadmap to a more compassionate life.

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