Patsy Mink

The Cardinal celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month!


Jana Nguyen, Staff Writer

Patsy Mink was born in 1927 on the island of Maui in the territory of Hawaii. Her real name is Patsy Takemoto. However, she goes by Patsy Mink. She was Japanese-American. Patsy registered as a pre-med student at the University of  Hawaii. She opted to attend school in Nebraska after a year. To get around this regulation, she had to live in a segregated dorm for international students and students of race. She enlisted the help of students, graduates, professors, families, and others of the local community. The University of Nebraska’s segregation regulations were abolished within a year. Due to that, She was able to express the problems of discriminated-against communities. She also registered to over a dozen medical schools but was turned down due to her gender. Instead, she acquired a law degree, but businesses refused to hire her since she had a daughter and could not work long hours. She was successful in getting the Women’s Educational Equity Act passed in 1974, which supports gender equality in schools. Mink was elected to the United States House of Representatives, becoming the first Asian-American woman to do so. Mink worked for gender and racial equality, affordable childcare, and bilingual education as a representative. Mink is known as the first woman of color elected to Congress, assisting in the enactment of most of the 1960s Great Society legislation as during the initial phase of her legislative tenure. Mink went back to The house in the 1990s after a long absence as an outspoken supporter of the social welfare system. She served Hawaii’s at-large U.S. House of Representatives from 1965 to 1977 and the second electoral vote from 1990 to 2002 for a total of 12 terms (24 years). She has once said, “You were not elected to Congress, in my interpretation of things, to represent your district, period, you are national legislators.” On September 28, 2002, she passed away from complications from pneumonia.