Oregon Law traditionally hosts several events in honor of Minoru Yasui’s legacy on his birthday, October 19. This year we are hosting a screening of Never Give Up: Minoru Yasui and the Fight for Justice, and a remote panel discussion on Minoru Yasui and Our Call to Honor His Civil Rights Legacy.
Current headlines report of bias against immigrants, anti-Asian discrimination, and the prominence of white nationalism. The panel discussion on October 19th dives into these topics. Minoru Yasui and Our Call to Honor His Civil Rights Legacy, features panelists including producer and documentarian Holly Yasui, author Lauren Kessler, an award-winning author whose book was named Library Journal’s Best Book of the Year, and attorney Bill Waterman, a faculty member who teaches at John F. Kennedy School of Law at North Central University. The panel will be moderated by this year's Minoru Yasui Fellow, Anna Reutin.
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. Yasui received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015.
Yasui spent much of his life petitioning for the redress of restrictions imposed on Japanese Americans following the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the outbreak of World War II. He challenged the constitutionality of a military curfew order, spending nine months in solitary confinement as the case went through the courts.
Even after the Supreme Court upheld the curfew in 1943, Yasui continued his appeals. At the time of his death in 1986, a trial court had vacated his conviction and his challenge of the law’s constitutionality was before the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Yasui also was one of three Japanese American citizens who challenged the forced removal and imprisonment of more than 100,000 people — men, women and children, including Yasui — of Japanese ancestry to internment camps. The two men who stood with him, Fred Korematsu and Gordon Hirabayashi — previously received the Medal of Freedom.
Below are details for the two events this year:
- Wednesday, October 13, noon, 184: screening of Never Give Up: Minoru Yasui and the Fight for Justice. This documentary will also be available on YouTube for the Oregon Law community through October 19, 2021. The President of the Japanese American Association of Lane County will offer a brief introduction to the film.
- Tuesday, October 19, 12-1:15, remote panel discussion Minoru Yasui and Our Call to Honor His Civil Rights Legacy. Panelists are filmmaker Holly Yasui, author Lauren Kessler, and attorney Bill Waterman. The 2021-22 Minoru Yasui Fellow, Anna Reutin, will moderate. Complete information and registration available on the event webpage.