Present at the reception were (from left) Albert Okura, George Iseri, Karen Ishizuka, Shiz (Mae) Komatsu, Ets (Frances) Okura, Eric Komatsu, Cindy Sangalang, Joyce Komatsu, Emi Komatsu and Glen Komatsu.
By P.C. Staff
The Asian American Studies Center and Library Special Collections at the University of California, Los Angeles, held an inaugural reception on June 9 for the Patrick and Lily Okura Collection, which celebrates the Okura’s pioneering work related to Asian Pacific American, minority and community mental health issues as well as their lifetime dedication to social justice.
The reception, held in the university’s Charles E. Young Research Library Presentation Room, was attended by the Okura family along with colleagues of Pat Okura and former foundation fellows. Attendees viewed pieces of the collection and were given a digital tour on how to navigate the collection online.
“A scholar once said that archives represent a community of memory, and this notion of a community of memory has really held true for me as a historian,” said AASC Director David Yoo. “I’m proud that UCLA can be a place for researchers can come to learn about mental health.”
Notable speakers included UCLA Okura Mental Health Leadership Foundation President and Board of Director Ford Kuramoto, Chairman Bertram S. Brown, Okura family members Glen Komatsu and Karen Ishizuka, UCLA Deputy University Librarian and
Interim Director of Library Special Collections Susan E. Parker, AASC Librarian and Archivist Marjorie Lee and AASC IT Specialist and Project Coordinator Tam Nguyen.
“When you spend time in an archive, you get to actually know the people and the lives that are represented inside” said Yoo. “It’s a link to the present and to the future where the Okura’s lives intersect with many topics and communities.”
The collection is available to view online. Its registry is arranged into numerous categories covering the Okura’s professional career, minority and community mental health advocacy, civic engagement, the JACL, World War II evacuation, incarceration, resettlement and redress.
Pat and Lily Okura dedicated their lives to mental health research and social justice, especially for AAPI communities. Pat Okura (1911-2005) attended UCLA and earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology; he later became the first Asian American to graduate with a master’s degree in psychology. His wife, Lily (1919-2005), was the first woman elected to JACL’s National Board and was best known for her activism and leadership.
“It is great to see these archives come to life and be made available,” said Komatsu. “I think this is about the people and scholars that come after us that will use this archive to focus on the community and the good work.”
Visit the archive here to download the full registry.