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Minoru Yasui Day 2023

ATTENTION: This event can be attended in-person or by Live Stream on Facebook. You may choose your ticket type in the next step.

By Minoru Yasui Legacy Project

When and where

Date and time

Saturday, April 1 · 1 - 3pm PDT


University of Oregon in Portland 70 NW Couch Street Portland, OR 97209

About this event

  • 2 hours
  • Mobile eTicket

In 2016 Oregon’s legislature designated March 28 Minoru Yasui Day to honor the state’s only Presidential Medal of Freedom awardee’s tireless fight for equality, justice, democracy, and civil rights. This year the Min Yasui Day program is scheduled for Saturday, April 1, from 1 to 3 pm. In person at the White Stag Building (70 NW Couch Street, Portland) and streaming live on YouTube.

This year’s program will feature

➢ The Man: Reflections from Dr. Homer Yasui, Honorary Chair of the Min Yasui Legacy Project and historian extraordinaire.

➢ His Work: Reflections from Dr. Robin Yasui, Minoru Yasui’s niece, on Min’s life work as a Colorado attorney addressing injustice across all populations. In addition to the Asian population for which he is most well-known, he advocated for the rights of women and LGBTQ community, Native and African Americans, Jews, and Latinos.

➢ His Legacy Today Panel: The importance and relevance of Min’s work across generations, from high school to social justice lawyers.

➢ Behind These Bars: Dedication of the jail cell where Min spent nine months in solitary confinement fighting for justice for all Americans. While these bars could not confine Min’s spirit, the arduous journey of the cell from the Multnomah County Courthouse to its permanent resting place at the Japanese American Museum of Oregon in Portland symbolizes Min’s life work and how this spirit of an extraordinary activist was strengthened rather than diminished by confinement. Min’s determination and faith in our Constitution will be illustrated by the reading of a few poems written behind these bars.

Hosted by: Minoru Yasui Legacy Project, in collaboration with the Japanese American Museum of Oregon (JAMO).

For sponsorship opportunities click here.

About the organizer

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.