In this clip from Spike Lee‘s 1992 film Malcolm X, the assassinated civil rights leader (played by Denzel Washington) is shown dying in the arms of his wife, played by Angela Bassett. Undepicted on screen, and largely ignored in the historical record, is the woman who really held Malcolm that night on the floor of the Audubon Ballroom – an Asian woman.
This is just one of the revelations in Mountains That Take Wing, a documentary about the intersecting lives of activists Angela Davis and Yuri Kochiyama. It was Kochiyama who was on the stage with Malcolm when gunmen assasinated him, and it was she who cradled the mortally wounded civil rights leader.
During Asian Heritage Month, we often reflect on the historic struggles faced by Asian Canadians: the plight of Chinese railway workers, the Japanese Internments, the South Asians turned away aboard the Komegatsu Maru, just to name a few. It can be instructive to see how those struggles can be linked to the struggles of other, non-Asian people – and how our liberations are also entwined.
Together with the Yuri Kochiyama 92nd Birthday Celebration Committee and the Canadian Auto Workers Union, Reel Asian is proud to co-present a screening of this remarkable work on Thursday, May 23, at Beit Zatoun House, a cultural community gathering space on the edge of Koreatown. Doors open at 7:30pm and the programme begins at 8pm. Admission is PWYC (pay-what-you-can).