By The North American Post Staff
The local community mourned at the beginning of the New Year for community leader Al Sugiyama, who passed away on Jan. 2. He was 67.
A memorial service for Sugiyama will be held at 2 p.m. on Jan. 29 at Fisher Pavilion in the Seattle Center.
Sugiyama has been a core member to empower the local Asian American community for his numerous activities for decades.
“Today, the Seattle JACL is devastated to learn of Al Sugiyama’s passing,” JACL Seattle Chapter posted the statement on the Facebook on Jan. 2. “Al Sugiyama was the activists’ activist. From organizing Asian American students at UW in the 70’s, establishing the Center for Career Alternatives for young people in the 80’s, to serving as the first Asian American on the Seattle School Board in the 90’s, to serving as Director for the Executive Development Institute until a few years ago, Al Sugiyama was always advocating and looking out for the rights of others.
“Even while battling his cancer in the last few years, Al Sugiyama continued to demand Police Accountability, hiring Asian Americans for senior positions in the police department, and improving public safety in the International District.
“Al was a longtime Seattle JACL member and frequent fund raiser for our Chapter’s youth at our annual Banquet. We will miss you so much and we pledge to continue your quest for social justice.”
Sugiyama was also co-founder of the Seattle Central Community College’s (current Seattle Central College) Oriental Student Union and also Asian Family Affair newspaper.
“Alan will be remembered as a natural organizer and gifted storyteller, which allowed him to unite people on the pathway to change,” also said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. “…He will be remembered as an advocate for social justice, equity, and civil rights. The Seattle community owes a great debt of gratitude for his years of service.”