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May Fu

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Serve the People and You Help Yourself: Japanese American Anti-Drug Organizing in Los Angeles, 1969 to 1972

In 1970, more than 31 Sansei (third-generation Japanese American) teenagers in Los Angeles County died from barbiturate overdoses, and a sobering two-thirds of those deaths were Japanese American young women. This article examines the grass-roots political work of Sansei women and men who confronted the epidemic by launching an anti-drug offensive that addressed the immediate and practical needs of their community. By creating networks that bridged ethnic, racial, generational, and neighborhood divisions, these activists fostered a transformative praxis that linked self-help to community self-determination.

community study, Sansei teenagers, anti-drug offensive, self-determination

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 35, No. 2 (2008-09): 80-99