Inspiring people: Patsy Mink

Patsy Matsu Takemoto Mink was an American lawyer and politician from the American state of Hawaii. Mink was a third generation Japanese American, born and raised on the island of Maui. After graduating as a valedictorian from the Maui High School class in 1944, she attended the University of Hawaii at Mānoa for two years and subsequently enrolled at the University of Nebraska, where she experienced racism and worked to eliminate segregation policies. . After her illness forced her to return to Hawaii to complete her studies there, she applied to enter 12 medical schools to continue her education, but they all turned her down. Following a suggestion from her employer, she opted to study law and was accepted to the University of Chicago Law School in 1948. While she was in college, she met and married a graduate student, John Francis. Mink. When they graduated in 1951, Patsy Mink was unable to find employment as a married Asian woman, and after the birth of her daughter in 1952, the couple moved to Hawaii. When she was denied the right to take the bar exam due to the loss of her territorial residence in Hawaii upon marriage, she challenged Mink’s sexist status. Although she won the right to take the test and passed the exam, she could not find a public or private job because she was married and she had a child. Mink’s father helped her open her own practice in 1953 and around the same time she became a member of the Democratic Party.

Hoping to work legislatively to change discriminatory customs through law, she worked as an attorney for the Hawaiian territorial legislature in 1955. The following year, she ran for a seat in the territorial House of Representatives. By winning the race, she became the first Japanese-American woman to serve in the Territorial Chamber and two years later, the first woman to serve in the Territorial Senate, when she won her Upper House campaign. In 1960, Mink gained national attention when she spoke for the civil rights platform at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. In 1964, Mink ran for federal office and won a seat in the United States House of Representatives. She was the first woman of color and the first Asian-American woman elected to Congress, and also the first woman elected to Congress from the state of Hawaii. He served a total of 12 terms (24 years), divided between 1965-77 representing the overall congressional district and Hawaii’s second district from 1990 to 2002.

While in Congress in the late 1960s, he served the former comprehensive initiatives under the Early Childhood Education Act, which included the first federal child care bill and worked on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. In 1970, he became the first person to oppose a candidate for the Supreme Court for discrimination against women. Mink initiated a lawsuit that resulted in significant changes in presidential authority under the Freedom of Information Act in 1971.

In 1972, she co-authored the Amendment to Title IX of the Higher Education Act, later renamed the Education Act. Patsy T. Mink’s Equal Opportunity in Education in 2002. Mink was the first Asian American woman to seek the Democratic Party presidential nomination. She ran in the 1972 election, entering the Oregon primary as an antiwar candidate. She was the Federal Under Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs from 1977 to 1979. From 1980 to 1982, Mink served as president of Americans for Democratic Action and later returned to Honolulu, where she was elected to the city of Honolulu. Council, which she chaired until 1985. In 1990, she was re-elected to the United States House of Representatives, serving until her death in 2002. During her second six terms, she continued to work on legislation relevant to women, children, and women. immigrants, and minorities.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki on

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