SEATTLE — Alan Sugiyama, a longtime Seattle community activist and the first Asian-American elected to the Seattle school board, has died. He was 67.
Longtime friend Ron Chew says Sugiyama died Monday at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle after a battle with cancer.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray mourned his death in a statement Tuesday, recalling Sugiyama as a natural organizer, gifted storyteller and a champion for social justice.
Chew called him "a real giant" and a strong, feisty advocate for funding for social services for communities of color.
Sugiyama helped organize the Oriental Student Union at Seattle Central Community College and led the Asian Student Coalition at the University of Washington.
He started the Center for Career Alternatives, a multi-ethnic job training program, and headed the Executive Development Institute, a leadership training program.
He was elected to the Seattle school board in 1989 and served two terms.