I am deeply saddened by the passing of Seattle community advocate and civil rights legend Alan Sugiyama. Alan will be remembered as a natural organizer and gifted storyteller, which allowed him to unite people on the pathway to change. Alan’s commitment to social justice began when he was young and living in Seattle’s Central District, where he served as a leader in the Asian youth movement during the 1960s and 1970s. He co-founded Seattle Central Community College’s (now Seattle Central College) Oriental Student Union and later served as a leader of the Asian Student Coalition at the University of Washington.
From co-founding the Asian Family Affair newspaper, to establishing the Center for Career Alternatives job-training and placement agency for the API community, and later heading the Asian Pacific Directors Coalition and Executive Development Institute, the lives touched by Alan’s work and advocacy are countless.
As the first Asian American elected to the Seattle School Board, Alan championed increased diversity and bilingual education. 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.
My thoughts and prayers are with Alan’s daughters, Mari and Alysa, and his friends and family.