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Patsy Mink

Fierce Advocate for Change

Leveling the Field

Patsy Takemoto Mink was a Japanese American from the state of Hawaii. In 1964 she was appointed to the United States House of Representatives. It was the first time a woman of color held that position. In that same year, the Civil Rights Act was signed. She served twelve terms in Congress. Mink is a co-author and driving force behind Title IX, a law that mandates gender equity. It is mainly associated with mandated inclusion for girls and women in sports however its impact broadened education access and opportunities for girls and women.

After graduating from the University of Hawaii, Mink was denied enrollment into medical schools. She went on to earn a degree from the University of Chicago Law School. She went back to Hawaii and became the first woman of Japanese ancestry to practice law in Hawaii when she opened up her own practice.

Mink was a vigilant supporter of the rights of girls and women so that no one had to endure the discrimination she did. She was also an environmental preservationist. She believed that sometimes you had to stand alone to advocate for the changes you want to see happen in the world. Her actions participated in much ground-breaking legislation that continues to impact our country.

Patsy Mink is the recipient of many honors. In 2014 she was posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Barak Obama for her legacy of activism. A notable quote from her is, "I have run many many times, and I've lost many times. But I've never given up of feeling that I as an individual and you as an individual can make the difference". In May 2022 the book Fierce and Fearless chronicles Mink's extraordinary life. It coincides with the 50th anniversary of Title IX.

Maybe Patsy Mink didn't know how far Title IX and her fight for a level playing field would go. However, we are grateful for her contributions. We are inspired to reach further and be better for ourselves and those that come after us.


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