Community Unites to Celebrate the Life of Ronald Takaki

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-Memorial will also celebrate launch of grass roots petition to rename Ethnic Studies Library at UC Berkeley in Takaki’s honor -

SAN FRANCISCO  – Professor Ronald Takaki, the “father” of multicultural studies and preeminent scholar of American diversity, passed away on May 26, 2009. A community memorial service will be held in his honor on Thursday July 23 at 1 South Van Ness in the 2nd Floor Atrium, from 5:30 to 7:30pm.  Public officials, university colleagues, friends and family will celebrate his legacy. There will be readings from his critically acclaimed book “A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America.”

A pioneer in the field of ethnic studies, Takaki was instrumental in establishing University of California Berkeley’s multicultural requirement for graduation.  “He was able to transcend his own ethnic identity,” said Roberto Haro, a close friend and colleague of more than 30 years.  Takaki helped establish UC Berkeley’s undergraduate Ethnic Studies major and Ph.D program, serving as chair of the department from 1975-1977.

To commemorate the lasting impact on those he taught, former students have drafted a petition to rename the Ethnic Studies Library at UC Berkeley in Takaki’s honor.  This petition will be presented and passed along during the memorial service.

“Professor Takaki devoted his life to the future of America. He taught tens of thousands of students. His books reached hundreds of thousands of readers. All of us have been affected by his teachings,” said Ted Fang of the AsianWeek Foundation. “As our nation approaches that day when all Americans will be minorities, we continue his work each in our own ways to embrace and enhance America’s manifest diversity.”

“People on the street may not know Dr. Takaki’s name but they have certainly experienced his vision if you ask them, ‘How has multiculturalism affected your life?’” said Dr. Derethia DuVal, Director of the Counseling Psychological Services Center at San Francisco State University.  “This attests to his genius.  He touched all communities with his work and his memorial will show our appreciation for his vision and his genius.”

“Ron was a very caring and generous mentor who inspired me through his own research and political engagements,” said Tomas Almaguer, professor of ethnic studies, San Francisco State University. “It is important that we come together as a community to celebrate his life, because Ron’s work extended beyond the classroom. He was a fierce academic activist who inspired a whole generation of young scholars. His work has reached so many people and instilled in them a sense of political activism.”

The event is open to the public but space is limited. To attend this memorial service, please RSVP by contacting Angela Pang by phone (415) 321-5894 or by email to

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