SEATTLE—Come celebrate Japanese American civil rights hero Minoru Yasui with free events at Wing Luke Museum and Blaine Memorial United Methodist Church, the last weekend of June, 2016. The festivities are part of a nationwide celebration of Minoru Yasui’s centennial (1916-2016). Seattle JACL and Humanities Washington are pleased to support the events, which are organized by the Minoru Yasui Committee.
First up is a screening of “Never Give Up! Minoru Yasui and the Fight for Justice,” a documentary work-in-progress at 7 p.m., Saturday, June 25 at Wing Luke Museum (719 S. King Street). After the 40-minute rough-cut video, please stay for a panel and audience discussion and a reception.Seating is limited. For more information and/or to make special accommodations, email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following day, Sunday, come hear a reading of the play “Citizen Min.” Beginning at 2 p.m. at Blaine Memorial United Methodist Church (3001 – 24th Avenue South), the two-hour play will be followed by a brief question-and-answer session and a reception.
The late Minoru Yasui is most famous for his legal challenge during the World War II incarceration of people of Japanese ancestry. Along with 120,000 others, Yasui was forcibly removed from his home to the Portland Assembly Center and then imprisoned at the Minidoka concentration camp in Idaho before spending nine months solitary confinement at the Multnomah County Jail. Behind bars there, he waited the appeal of his case to the U.S. Supreme Court. After the war, the Nisei continued to work for civil and human rights. He was a leader in the redress movement that sought an official apology and reparations for former incarcerees. He also re-opened his legal case through a writ of coram nobis some 40 years after he initiated it. Yasui died in 1986 while his re-opened case was in appeal, before his tremendous redress efforts bore fruit.
In 2015, the Minoru Yasui Tribute committee successfully nominated Yasui for a posthumous Medal of Freedom, and earlier this year, worked with the Oregon ACLU and state legislature to declare March 28 – the day he initiated his constitutional test case – as Minoru Yasui Day in perpetuity. And in May of 2016, the committee received this message from the Smithsonian Institute:
“The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery will be adding two portraits of Minoru Yasui to the museum’s collection. The Portrait Gallery tells the story of this nation through the people who have built it. Yasui’s image and story are a substantial addition to our nation’s history”.