Nobuko Miyamoto of Great Leap recalls her final meeting with Yuri Kochiyama. (MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo)
Nobuko Miyamoto speaks at Yuri Kochiyama’s memorial program in Little Tokyo last year. (MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo)

The Serve the People Institute presents “Get Up! Stand Up! Speak Up! An Evening of Art and Stories” on Sunday, Nov. 1, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at the Japanese American National Museum’s Tateuchi Democracy Forum, 111 N. Central Ave. in Little Tokyo.

Nobuko Miyamoto will be honored. Guest performers are Dan Kwong, traci kato-kiriyama, Jumakae, and jason chu. Discussion and stories about the Asian American Movement and its linkages to contemporary social movements will follow the performances.

The founder and artistic director of Great Leap, Miyamoto is an artist who uses music, theater and dance for her own work as well as for projects she creates with communities. Originally a dancer on Broadway and in films such as “Flower Drum Song” and “West Side Story,” her involvement in social change movements of the ’60s galvanized her as an activist and inspired a re-conceptualization of her role as an artist.

This led to her co-creation of the seminal Asian American album “A Grain of Sand” with Chris Iijima and Charlie Chin, and her founding of Great Leap in 1978. Her later performances, musicals and albums have continued to probe themes of identity, as well as the intersections of cultures and faiths, and our connection with Earth.

More recent projects include her touring lecture/performance “What Can a Song Do?” and producing, songwriting and performing in Great Leap’s series of environmental music videos, “Eco-Vids.” For the past three years, Miyamoto, Quetzal Flores and other artists have collaborated on FandangObon, a multicultural celebration incorporating Japanese, Mexican and African traditions.

Miyamoto has been recognized with the Ford Foundation’s Leadership for a Changing World Award and the California Arts Council Director’s Award for her contribution to the arts in California.

Admission is $50 general, $15 for students and activists. Sponsorship levels are Advocate ($750), Activist ($500), People ($250) and Partner ($100).

To RSVP, go to For more information, email

The Serve the People Institute (SPI) is an emerging community-driven, leadership development organization that aims to share the history and values of the Asian American Movement in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, with a geographic focus on Los Angeles. SPI aims to empower Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities toward greater economic and political self-sufficiency by developing and cultivating the next generation of activists and community leaders.

To do this, SPI brings together a unique cadre of community leaders from the Asian American Movement based in Los Angeles to document the struggles of the past and empower the leaders who will continue the fight for social justice.

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