When Weston Koyama first began college as a pre-med student at Portland State University, he never anticipated what a key factor his ancestry would play in his future. Now, as he finishes up his 1L year at Oregon Law, Weston's ancestry has helped him to establish what it means to be a Minoru Yasui Fellow.
As the first-ever Minoru Yasui Fellow, Weston focuses on overcoming oppression, specifically related to race or ethnicity. Weston sees the fellowship as an opportunity to develop educational and outreach activities and events inspired by Yasui’s legacy that can enrich the Oregon Law community.
In addition to the Minoru Yasui Fellowship, Koyama is also involved with APLSA (Asian Pacific Law Student Association), which works to raise awareness about and fight racial profiling. For Weston, APLSA is also a safe space at Oregon Law for students to talk to each other and to decompress.
“I hope that Oregon Law will be known as a place where people who come here, become change agents come to shape the future of the state and this country,” Koyama expressed. “I think the law school is doing positive outreach by providing scholarships to people like myself and from other diverse backgrounds to have a chance to come here and study.”
In the future, Weston hopes that Oregon Law is known not only as a premier law school in the Pacific Northwest, but also as one of the most diverse law schools in the nation. “I want future generations to know that no matter where you’re from or who you are, your destiny is up to you. That in a truly free society, we are in a place to fight whatever oppression may exist out there and reclaim our destiny for ourselves.”
by Mikaela Farasyn, senior majoring in public relations, School of Journalism and Communication