March 16 - Women’s History Month Profile: Patsy Takemoto Mink

In 1964, Patsy Takemoto Mink was the first Asian American and woman of color to be elected into Congress as a representative from Hawaii. Mink was a third-generation Japanese American and also the first Japanese American to graduate from the University of Hawaii and then first Asian American to pursue a law degree at the University of Chicago law school. Among the firsts, growing up in Hawaii during World War II was difficult for her, because of her Japanese descent. Regardless, Mink continued to hold numerous leadership positions, including Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, president of Americans for Democratic Action, and Honolulu city council. Despite stereotypes towards women, Mink was passionate and vocal about what she believed in. Her political focus centered on liberal agendas towards improving and reforming education, health care, the environment, gender equity, and equal opportunity.