ABOUT THE CENTER
Situated in the Riverside Community College District's Renaissance Block, the Center for Social Justice & Civil Liberties was inspired by and born out of the bequest of Miné Okubo (1912-2001)—a Japanese American woman artist and Riverside City College Alumna who played a significant role in documenting the lives of mid-20th century history of Japanese Americans in the United States. Her artwork, outspoken commentary, and writing, in addition to the publication of Citizen 13660, the first memoir written by a Japanese American incarcerated during World War II, brought her to the attention of many.
The Okubo collection includes more than 8,000 pieces of art work, professional and personal papers, and memorabilia combined that Miné Okubo accumulated during the 50+ years she lived in the Greenwich Village area of New York City. The Collection is located on the Second Floor of an historic two story 10,000 sq. ft. building originally known as the Citrus Belt Savings and Loan Building. The circa 1920s structure features a Spanish Baroque façade. The First Floor of the building, also known as the Plaza Level initially housed a permanent exhibition, known as Riverside Stories. This interpretive exhibition underscored seven stories of individuals and families, all of whom were unwavering in their commitment to social justice and civil liberties in the 20th century. These included: The Harada Family, Frank Johnson, Rupert and Jeanette Costo, Johnny Sotelo, Frank Miller, Tomás Rivera, and Miné Okubo. Riverside stories exhibit remained on the First Floor up until 2020, that's when the area was redesigned to repurpose the open interior space for exhibitions and other programming.