1943 - 2000

"Congratulations on your anti-napalm protest. You saved the life of a dog. Now, how about saving the lives of tens of thousands of people in Vietnam."

- Kiyoshi Kuromiya

Kiyoshi Kuromiya was born in a Japanese American internment camp during World War II and grew up to become a committed civil rights and anti-war activist. A personal assistant to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he was also one of the founders of Gay Liberation Front/Philadelphia and served as an openly gay delegate to the Black Panther Convention that endorsed the gay liberation struggle. He was involved with ACT-UP/Philadelphia; PWA empowerment; We The People Living with HIV/AIDS; national and international research advocacy; and loving and compassionate mentorship and care for hundreds of people living with HIV. Kuromiya was the editor of the ACT-UP Standard of Care, the first such publication for the care of people living with HIV produced by PWAs. He founded the Critical Path Project, which brought the strategies and theories of his associate and mentor R. Buckminster Fuller to the struggle against AIDS. The CRITICAL PATH newsletter, one of the earliest and most comprehensive sources of HIV treatment information, was routinely mailed to thousands of people living with HIV all over the world. Kuromiya understood science and was involved locally, nationally and internationally in AIDS research as both a treatment activist and clinical trials participant. He fought for research that involved the community in its design – particularly people of color, drug users, and women. He also sent newsletters to hundreds of incarcerated individuals to ensure their access to up-to-date treatment information. Kuromiya was a leader in the struggle to maintain freedom of speech on the Internet, participating in the successful lawsuit against the Communications Decency Act; and he was the leading plaintiff in the Supreme Court case Kuromiya vs. The United States of America, which called for the legalization of marijuana for medical uses. Kuromiya was also a nationally ranked Scrabble player and a master of Kundalini yoga. He wrote the 1968 Collegiate Guide to Greater Philadelphia (1967) and, co-authored, along with R. Buckminster Fuller, Cosmography: A Posthumous Scenario for the Future of Humanity (1992). He succumbed to HIV/AIDS the day after his 57th birthday.


Gender Male

Sexual Orientation Gay

Gender Identity Cisgender

Ethnicity Asian/Pacific Rim

Faith Construct Atheist Protestant

Nations Affiliated United States

Era/Epoch AIDS Era (1980-present) Civil Rights Movement (1954-1968) Information Age (1970-present) Post-Stonewall Era (1974-1980) Stonewall Era (1969-1974) Vietnam War (1955-1975) World War II (1939-1945)

Field(s) of Contribution



Social Justice

Commemorations & Honors

ACT UP Philadelphia Co-Founder

Nationally Ranked Scrabble Player

Published the Fuck the Draft Poster (1968)

Critical Path Project Founder (1989)

San Francisco Rainbow Honor Walk Honoree (2018)

National LGBTQ Wall of Honor at the Stonewall National Monument Inductee (2019)


Original Biography Author
Owen Keehnen
Biography Edited By
Victor Salvo
Resources Coordination
Carrie Maxwell