About: Minoru "Min" Yasui was a Japanese American lawyer from Oregon. Born in Hood River, Oregon, he earned both an undergraduate degree and his law degree at the University of Oregon. He was one of the few Japanese-Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor who fought laws that directly targeted Japanese-Americans or Japanese immigrants. His case was the first case to test the constitutionality of the curfews targeted at minority groups. (Minoru Yasui's jail cell is now on permanent display at at the Japanese American Museum of Oregon.)
His case would make its way to the United States Supreme Court, where his conviction for breaking curfew was affirmed. After internment during most of World War II, he moved to Denver, Colorado in 1944. In Denver, Yasui married and became a local leader in civic affairs, including leadership positions in the Japanese American Citizens League. In 1986, his criminal conviction was overturned by the federal court. More than forty years later, Congress finally acknowledged the government’s mistake with the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.The Yasui Fellowship honors Yasui’s legacy and reminds us all of the need for vigilance in the name of liberty. The Yasui Endowment supports scholarship, public service, and academic offerings in human and civil rights law. It helps the School of Law attract, retain, and support students and faculty members who demonstrate a strong commitment to human rights issues.
Learn more about the inaugural Minoru Yasui Fellow, Weston Koyama.
Eligibility: Eligible applicants must be preparing to enter their first year in the JD Program at the University of Oregon School of Law or are currently enrolled 2Ls or 3Ls. Applicants are selected on the basis of their past academic record and demonstrated commitment to the values reflected in Minoru Yasui’s legacy and life.
Fellowship Projects May Include: Participating in or organizing periodic events that honor Minoru Yasui. In the past, Oregon Law has held a lecture or documentary screening in the fall in honor of Minoru Yasui and co-sponsored an event for Minoru Yasui Day in the spring. The Fellow should attend these events if possible, help promote them with students, and assist with some details. The Fellow is also encouraged to organize at least one educational opportunity for students focused on the legacy of Minoru Yasui. In the past, for example, the Fellow organized an educational tabling event.
Recent Fellowship Supervisors:
Managing Director, Public Law and Policy Program
Award amount: $5,000.00 ($2,500.00 awarded at the beginning of fall semester and $2,500.00 awarded at the beginning of spring semester.)
How to Apply: Submit a statement of interest and a resume. Your statement of interest should be 250 to 750 words in length and describe your interests in civil rights and what you believe you offer to the initiatives of Yasui Fellowship. Your name (as stated on your application for admission) must be included on your statement of interest. Email your statement of interest and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, you may mail your essay to:
University of Oregon School of Law
1221 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-1221
Fellowship applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and continue until the fellowships are filled.
All candidates will be notified when the process has been completed.