Many Americans view the struggle for civil rights through the lens of a "black-white binary," or the over-simplified belief that the "history of race and rights in this country is a story told only in terms of black and white, as though the rest of us aren't part of the plot" (Nakagawa, 2013). Mainstream culture has begun to recognize civil rights heroes like Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. This is encouraging; however, binary thinking has obscured the contribution of other leaders like Gordon Hirabayashi, who defied the internment order of Japanese citizens during World War II, and Billy Frank Jr., a Nisqually activist who fought to defend tribal fishing rights in Washington State during the 1960s.
This short video highlights the courage and activism of Billy Frank, who passed away only yesterday. He was a visionary and a cultural leader who will be missed. I encourage you to take ten minutes to watch this video.