Political activist and educator
A sansei born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Alan Sugiyama became a leader in the Asian youth movement as a college student and one of the early protesters for the teaching of Asian American studies. In 1979, he established the non-profit Center for Career Alternatives, providing no-cost education and employment services for disadvantaged youth and adults in Seattle. Elected in 1989 as the first Asian American member of the Seattle School Board, he also served as Board President.
Along with former Black Panther Mike Tagawa, Sugiyama co-founded the Oriental Student Union at Seattle Central Community College (SCCC). Transferring to the University of Washington in 1971, he led a series of protests demanding Asian American studies classes and the hiring of Asian administrators and faculty. The protest was in part modeled after a successful Black Student Union (BSU) protest at SCCC in 1969. As a leader of the Asian Student Coalition, he also organized local middle school and high school students into the campaign.
In 1972, Sugiyama co-founded the Asian Family Affair newspaper, a monthly periodical that he helped lead for over ten years. Throughout the 1970s, he continued to advocate the teaching of Asian American history, demanded an end to the derogatory representation of Asian Americans in the media, and publicized support for the preservation of the Seattle’s Chinatown/ International District. In 1980, Sugiyama founded the Center for Career Alternatives, where he continues to serve as Executive Director as well as participate in the Minority Executive Directors Coalition.
As of August 26, 2006
- Center for Career Alternatives
- CCA 25th Anniversary
- Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project
- Seattle Voices Video Interview
- Video interview: "Alan Sugiyama, Oriental Student Union, Asian American activist, Seattle School Board"
- "Alan grew up in Seattle’s Central area, and became a leader in the Asian youth movement in the late 1960s and 1970s. He co-founded the Oriental Student Union at Seattle Central Community College, was active in the University of Washington’s Asian Student Coalition, and co-founded the Asian Family Affair newspaper in 1972. ...Alan Sugiyama agreed to share memories and observations in a videotaped interview conducted by Trevor Griffey and Jennifer Speidel on November 2004. Below are streaming-video excerpts of the interview, each about a minute in length, in windows media format."