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Sen. Hirono Honors Legacy of Patsy Mink

June 2, 2019, 3:45 PM HST
* Updated June 2, 6:04 PM
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Sen. Mazie Hirono at Patsy Mink’s gravesite, May 31, 2019. PC: Sen. Mazie Hirono

Hawai‘i Sen. Mazie K. Hirono and her U.S. senate colleagues introduced a resolution in May 2019 to commemorate the life and legacy of the late Patsy Takemoto Mink, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 12 terms and created the Title IX educational policy in public schools, according to a statement released on May 31, 2019.

“Patsy Takemoto Mink was a true trailblazer in Congress as the first Asian American woman elected to Congress,” said Sen. Jacky Rosen of Nevada. “Rep. Mink was a co-author of Title IX legislation which opened the doors for equal opportunities in education. During this celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, let us honor Congresswoman Mink’s legacy.”

Nov. 3, 2019, will mark 55 years since Rep. Mink was first elected to Congress and all 17 of the female Democratic senators currently in office have signed onto the resolution.

“My friend, Patsy Mink was a champion for social and economic justice, equality and civil rights for women and marginalized communities,” Sen. Hirono said. “She was a trailblazer who never backed down from a challenge and whose work in Hawai‘i and Congress brought positive change to the lives of women, children and minorities in Hawai‘i and across the country. It is an honor to play a part in carrying on her legacy and continuing the important work that she started.”

“Patsy Takemoto Mink is one of the most under recognized individuals in U.S. history. Coming from islands in the middle of the Pacific, Mink made a tremendous impact on the U.S. nation through her advocacy of anti-war, feminist and environmental politics. She fundamentally believed in the civic right and obligation to speak up and make our society better. As a woman of color, she advocated for others relegated to the margins of U.S. society. She amplified their voices, brought attention to their issues and fought for equal right and justice. To honor Patsy Mink is to honor the promise of the United States,” said Professor Judy Wu, chair of the Department of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Irvine.

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Rep. Mink was the first woman of color and first Asian American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1964. Rep. Mink introduced the first childcare bill and co-authored Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 meant to promote equal access to opportunities for women and girls. The bill was renamed the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act in 2002. Rep. Mink was also known for her work on bringing to light the injustice that Japanese Americans faced during their internment during World War II.

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In addition to Sen. Hirono, U.S. senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) cosponsored the resolution.

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