Janice Mirikitani is recognized as a visionary, community activist, leader, poet, and editor.
Mirikitani is the Founding President of the Glide Foundation where she, in partnership with her husband, Reverend Cecil Williams, have achieved worldwide recognition for their groundbreaking organization which empowers San Francisco’s poor and marginalized communities to make meaningful changes in their lives to break the cycle of poverty and dependence. Over 43 years they built 87 comprehensive programs that provide education, recovery support, primary and mental health care, job training, housing and human services. Mirikitani's passion has been to create programs for women and families as they struggle with issues of substance abuse, rape, incest, domestic violence, the AIDS crisis, single parenting, childcare, health/wellness, education, and jobs development.
Mirikitani is San Francisco’s second Poet Laureate, appointed in 2000. She has authored four books of poetry and is the editor of nine landmark anthologies which provide platforms for writers of color, women, youth and children. Mirikitani has also worked in civil rights causes for various multi ethnic communities, including the struggle for redress for Japanese Americans incarcerated during WWII.
Mirikitani has been serving as a commissioner on the San Francisco Arts Commission since 1996 and was reappointed by Mayor Newsom in 2004. She is the recipient of over 40 awards and honors, including the Governor and First Lady’s Conference on Women and Families’ “Minerva Award”, San Francisco State University’s “Distinguished Alumnae Award,” the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce’s "Lifetime Achievement Ebbie Award,” the prestigious American Book “Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature,” and the University of California at San Francisco Chancellor’s “Medal of Honor Award".
Mirikitani has received two honorary doctorate degrees, graduated from UCLA, and received a teaching credential from UC Berkeley. She and her family were incarcerated in a Rohwer, Arkansas concentration camp with the mass internment of Japanese Americans during WWII.
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