Janice Mirikitani, a former San Francisco poet laureate was one of six people who were inducted into the San Francisco State University Alumni Hall of Fame on May 21.
The commencement ceremony, held on campus the following day, also included the presentation of honorary degrees to 19 alums of Japanese descent who were attending the university at the start of World War II, but were sent to internment camps before finishing their degrees.
Mirikitani herself spent three years of her childhood incarcerated in a Rohwer, Ark., camp, and is the founding president of the Glide Foundation at San Francisco’s Glide Memorial Church. Mirikitani is also the author of four books of poetry. At Glide, she developed more than 87 programs serving the poor and homeless of San Francisco, particularly women struggling with substance abuse, domestic violence, single parenting and other challenges. Named one of the “100 Most Influential Women in Business” by the San Francisco Business Times for three consecutive years, she was also named the 17th Assembly District’s Woman of the Year, and Poet Laureate of San Francisco. Mirikitani was recognized by the governor and first lady with a Minerva Award for her efforts to better the lives of women and children.
Documentary filmmaker Steven Okazaki, is among the previous inductees.