Janice Mirikitani

Diversity Scholar Visiting Professor

Janice Mirikitani is recognized as a visionary, community activist, leader, poet, and editor.

mirikitani_janiceMirikitani 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.  For over 45 years, they built over 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 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 had served 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” and recently inducted into their “Alumni Hall of Fame”,  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.

Janice Mirikitani is San Francisco’s second Poet Laureate, appointed in 2000.


Out of the Dust University of Hawaii Press, 2014

Beyond Possible HarperOne, San Francisco, 2013

Love Works City Lights Foundation, San Francisco, 2002

We, The Dangerous, New and Selected Poems Virago Press, London, England, 1995; reprinted 1995, for US distribution, Celestial Arts Publishing, Berkeley, CA

Shedding Silence, Poetry and Prose Celestial Arts Publishing, Berkeley, 1987

Awake in the River, Poetry, and Prose Isthmus Press, San Francisco, 1978; 2nd printing, 1982; 3rd printing, 1984 


For 25 years Mirikitani has been creating platforms for artists and other writers. She was Founding Member of Third World Communications and organized artists, writers, musicians, poets, etc. into coalitions to publish, create platforms for Third World voices, 1972‐76. She has published and edited several landmark anthologies, including:

AION Magazine, Publisher/Editor, Asian American political, cultural expressions, Volumes I and II, 1971 & 1972.

Third World Women, Editor, an anthology of writings and graphics by Third World women, published by Third World Communications, 1973.

Time to Greez!, Editor, an anthology of Third World voices published by Third World Communications and Glide Publications, 1975.

Ayumi, Project Director/Editor, A Japanese American Anthology (1981) A 7 year project compiling and publishing four generations of Japanese in America ‐‐ experiences reflected through graphics, poetry, prose, journals, diaries. 320 pages, 32page color graphic section. Issei (first generation) works published in original and translated into English. Ayumi was published by the Japanese American Anthology Committee.

Making Waves, Creative CoEditor, An Asian Women’s Anthology, Project of Asian Women United, 1988.

I Have Something to Say About This Big Trouble, Children of the Tenderloin Speak Out, Editor, Glide Word Press, 1989.

Watch Out, We're Talking: Speaking Out About Incest and Abuse, Project Director, Editor, Glide Word Press, 1993.

What Matters, Young Writers and Artists Speak Out, Glide Word Press, 2004.

Awards (Partial List)

“National Philanthropy Day” Honoree Association Of Fundraising Professionals Golden Gate Chapter, October 2009

“100 Most Influential Women In Business” San Francisco Business Times, June 2009

“Adl Civil Rights Award” Anti‐Defamation League, September 2008

“100 Most Influential Women In Business” San Francisco Business Times, June 2008

“100 Most Influential Women In Business” San Francisco Business Times, June 2007

“Willie L. Brown, Jr. Award” A. Philip Randolph Institute, April 2006

”Woman Leading Change Award” National Coalition Of 100 Black Women, November 2005

“Minerva Award” Governor And First Lady’s Conference On Women And Families, October 2005

“Distinguished Citizen Award” Harvard Club Of San Francisco May 2005

”Crystal Eagle Awardʺ Coro Northern California, May 2002

“City Ambassador Award” Where Magazine, April 2000

“Local Hero Of The Year Award” Union Bank Of California, May 2000

“Distinguished Centennial Alumna Award” San Francisco State University, December 1999

“Golden Ring Lifetime Achievement Award” Asian American Arts Foundation, October 1999

“Lifetime Achievement Ebbies Award” (With Rev. Cecil Williams) San Francisco Chamber Of Commerce, September 1999

 “Josephine And Frank Duveneck Humanitarian Award" Hidden Villa, An Educational Farm And Wilderness Preserve, September 1999

“Women Making History Award” City and County of San Francisco’s Commission on the Status of Women, April 1999

“Universal Woman Award” Kmel Universal Women’s Expo, April 1999

“Women Making History Award” City and County of San Francisco’s Commission on the Status Of Women, March 1998

“50th Anniversary Human Rights Award” San Francisco Bay Area Human Rights Celebration for the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, January 1998

“Honored For Arts And Activism” Kearny Street Workshop, September 1997

“Saints Alive Award” Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco, June 1997

“Woman of the Year Award for Outstanding Service and Dedication” The Audrey Hall Family, May 1997

“Harvey Milk Community Service Award” Harvey Milk Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender Democratic Club, May 1997

“Honorary Doctorate Degree” Rosebridge Graduate School Of Integrative Psychology, March 1997

“Lifetime Achievement Award For Literature” American Book Awards, Before Columbus Foundation, June 1996

“Annual Luncheon Honoree for Recognition of Bay Area Community Service” Equal Rights Advocates, June 1996

“Achievement and Appreciation Award” The Haight Ashbury Free Clinic, OutGoing Board Member, June 1996

“Daisy Award For Mentorship to Young Women and Girls” The San Francisco Bay Girl Scout Council, June 1996

“Distinguished Community Service Award” AntiDefamation League, May 1996

“Community Leadership Award” Leadership California, March 1996

 “Lorraine Hansberry Theatre Award” Honoring 20 Years of Commitment and Continuing Service to the Arts, March 1995

 ʺGround Breaker Dream Makerʺ Community Leadership Award, Women’s Foundation, San Francisco, 1994

 ʺOutstanding Leadership Awardʺ Japanese Community Youth Council, 1994

 “Community Leadership” Honored By Aars, Asian American Recovery Services, San Francisco, 1994

 “Community Leadership” Honored By Japanese American Citizen League Women’s Leadership Conference, San Francisco, 1994

 ʺWoman Of The Yearʺ 17th Assembly District, 1988; Selected By State Assembly Speaker Willie Brown And Honored By The California State Assembly

 ʺUCSF Chancellorʹs Medal of Honorʺ The Highest Award Given by the University of California At San Francisco, Presented by Chancellor Julius Krevans, 1988

 ʺWoman Of Words Awardʺ The Women’s Foundation. Honored in 1985 with Alice Walker, Alice Adams, Judy Grahn, Josephine Miles and Tillie Olson

 “Florette Pomeroy Award” The Women’s Alcoholism Center. Honored For Dedication And Efforts In The Area Of Recovery, 1994

ʺWoman Warrior In Arts And Culture Awardʺ The Pacific Asian American Women Bay Area Coalition, 1983 


Choreographer, Artistic Director, Glide Dance Group. Choreographed and Produced/Directed Over 35 Dance Productions for Glide Dance Ensemble Including:

A Tribute To King ‐ In Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Toured Nationally, 1985.

Amazing Grace ‐ Christmas, 1980.

Who Among The Missing ‐ In Honor of Central American Missing, Tortured and Imprisoned.

Hiroshima, California ‐ Anti‐War Statement, Toured Nationally.

When There Is Talk Of War ‐ Presented as Benefits for Redress and Reparation‐‐Premiered with Pacific Ballet.  Portrayal of One Life Lost in Hiroshima Bombing.

The Wall ‐ In Honor of Vietnam Veterans.

Lonnie’s Song ‐ 6 Dances and Dramatic Presentations on the Multi‐Faceted, Diverse Community Affected by the Aids Crisis, 1990.

Revealing Secrets, Revealing Fear 7 Dances with Music and Poetry on the Subject of Addiction, Incest and Recovery, 1992.

Asian American Dance Collective, Guest Choreographer, San Francisco, CA

Prisons Of Silence ‐ 1985 Repertory Concert. A Revival.

Generations Of Women ‐ 1984 Repertory Concert. A Dance Choreo-Poem About 3 Generations of Women in America.

Prisons Of Silence ‐ 1983 Repertory Concert. A Dance Dedicated to the Survivors of the Japanese American Internment Experience.