WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 17, 2015) — The Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) on Tuesday commended the announcement by President Obama that Minoru “Min” Yasui is a 2015 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Nation’s highest civilian honor.
Mr. Yasui is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously for his commitment to civil and human rights, and his continuous defense of the ideals of democracy embodied in our Constitution. In the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, Yasui challenged the constitutionality of a military curfew during World War II on the grounds of racial discrimination. Yasui would spend the rest of his life appealing his wartime conviction. When he passed away in 1986, his arrest had been overturned by a trial court and the constitutionality of his conviction was being challenged before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
“As a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Infantry Reserves and an attorney who passed the bar in Oregon in 1939, he knew what he was doing when he tried to test the constitutionality of the unjust curfew and forced evacuation orders placed on Japanese Americans. He faced discrimination and adversity, but persevered,” said Floyd Mori, APAICS President and CEO. “Min Yasui was a leader within the Japanese American community and the Japanese American Citizens League for many years. He spent his life advocating for the human and civil rights of all people. Min Yasui is a hero who is extremely deserving of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”
APAICS also congratulates fellow Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients: Yogi Berra (posthumous), Bonnie Carroll, Hon. Shirley Chisholm (posthumous), Emilio Estefan, Gloria Estefan, Billy Frank Jr. (posthumous), Hon. Lee Hamilton, Katherine G. Johnson, Willie Mays, Senator Barbara Mikulski, Itzhak Perlman, William Ruckelshaus, Stephen Sondheim, Steven Spielberg, Barbra Streisand, and James Taylor.