NMSU to host public presentation on Japanese American civil rights activist

April 29, 2016

The community is invited to attend a presentation in honor of Min Yasui, a hero of the Japanese American civil rights movement, from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, May 4, at New Mexico State University’s College of Health and Social Services Annex Auditorium, Room 101A.

Sepia tone portrait of a man.
Min Yasui, a Japanese American civil rights activist during World War II, was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015. His daughter, Holly Yasui, will host a presentation on his fight for civil rights from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, May 4, at NMSU’s College of Health and Social Services Annex Auditorium, Room 101A. (Courtesy photo)

In 1942, Min Yasui, then a 25-year-old lawyer, was arrested in Portland, Oregon, for violating a curfew imposed upon Japanese Americans during World War II. He waited nine months in solitary confinement as his case made its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled against him. Forty-one years later, he reopened his wartime case and became a leader in the Japanese American redress movement.

“The presentation by the daughter of Min Yasui is a great opportunity for members of the university community and public to learn some of the under-represented history of New Mexico,” said Fumi Arakawa, event host and director of NMSU’s University Museum in the College of Arts and Sciences. “In addition, Min Yasui’s experiences during and after World War II, illustrates how minority groups in New Mexico have set out to achieve their goals in improving human and civil rights of all people.”

Last year, Yasui was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the country. His daughter, Holly Yasui, will be on campus to present “Citizen Min in New Mexico,” a two-hour program that will include a screening of an in-progress documentary on her father, as well as readings from her biographical play and a Q&A session.

Holly Yasui’s play, “Citizen Min,” and documentary, “Never give up: Minoru Yasui and the fight for justice,” document her father’s life and fight for the civil rights of all people. The documentary was co-directed by Holly Yasui and features narration by George Takei.

This program is sponsored by the New Mexico Japanese American Citizens League, and is funded by the New Mexico Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The presentation is free and open to the public. For more information on the Minoru Yasui Tribute Project, visit www.minoruyasuitribute.org.

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