Patsy Mink

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, every school day The Cardinal will feature a prominent and historical Asian American or Pacific Islander, living or dead, who has worked toward change, advancement, and/or world peace. Some of them are heroes, and some are unsung heroes, who deserve recognition, and have made a contribution to society.


Isabella Hernandez, Staff Writer

Patsy Matsu Takemoto, better known as Patsy Mink, was born on December 6th, 1927 in Paia, Hawaii. During her early years, Patsy attended a mostly white school where she felt isolated because of her lack of English speaking skills. Patsy started high school just one year before Honolulu was attacked by Japan, which caused lots of hatred towards the Japanese people living there. Despite all the odds and tough times, Patsy was elected as the student body president during her senior year. Mink then went on to graduate as valedictorian in 1944.

During her college years, she transferred to the University of Nebraska. There, she experienced large amounts of racial discrimination as the university had many segregating policies. Unhappy with this, Patsy decided to form a coalition which ended all policies that the university had in place. After dealing with rejection from other universities like Columbia, she became the first woman of color to be elected to congress. Patsy served six terms and made an impact on social justice issues in education including gender equality and racial discrimination.

In 1971, she became the first Asian-American woman to run for president. Patsy Mink opened many doors for minorities and used her own personal struggles to motivate herself and others. She sadly passed away on September 28, 2002, due to pneumonia at age 74, but her legacy as a fighter for social justice will not be forgotten.