Last week, I was saddened to hear about the passing of Ronald Takaki, who at age 70, committed suicide to end his own suffering with MS. I am saddened to hear of his passing, but and glad that he is no longer suffering.
I was never fortunate enough to be one of his students, but he has taught me a lot since I discovered his books around 1992-1993. Dr. Takaki broadened my view and scope of understanding of civil rights, history and being Asian American through Strangers from a Different Shore, A Different Mirror, and his other writings. I still have and peruse my battered copies of those two books in my library. The footprints he stamped in American history and awareness is definitely a deep one, especially in Asian-American history and politics.
I really don’t think that I would have been as passionate about civil rights for everyone if I had not been influenced by his writings. And thus, I may not have spent nearly a decade working in civil rights/disability rights advocacy.
Here’s a NPR broadcast of his passing.
Thank you Dr. Takaki for changing my life and perspective. May you rest in peace.