House passes bill honoring OR man who fought for equality - KPTV - FOX 12

House passes bill honoring OR man who fought for equality

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Minoru Yasui Minoru Yasui
SALEM, OR (KPTV) -

Oregon House has unanimously passed a bill that honors the struggle and legacy of an Oregon freedom fighter, Minoru Yasui.

House Bill 4009 will mark March 28th as Minoru Yasui Day.

"This is one of the proudest moments of my legislative career," says Rep. Brian Clem. "Min was a trailblazer and lifetime defender of civil and human rights, and everyone should know about his legacy.  He is a shining example of courage in the face of extreme racial discrimination and social injustice. His story is as important now as it was in 1942." 

On March 28, 1942, Yasui, from Hood River, openly defied the wartime curfew against Japanese-Americans, an act that got him sent to a Portland jail for nine months of solitary confinement.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the conviction in 1943, and Yasui spent the rest of his life appealing his conviction. He became the first Japanese-American graduate of the University of Oregon School of Law.

A federal court eventually overturned it in 1986, the year he died at age 70.

Last year, Yasui was posthumously honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the U.S.

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