It is often more important to be ahead of the majority

Patsy Mink
It is often more important to be ahead of the majority

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Patsy Mink: “It is often more important to be ahead of the majority and this means being willing to cut the first furrow in the ground and stand alone for a while if necessary.”

The month of May marks Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. This week, we are featuring a quote from Patsy Mink, the first woman of colour and the first Asian-American woman elected to the US Congress.

Patsy Mink (1927-2002) was a Hawaiian lawyer and politician. Experiencing racism during her university years and discrimination in Hawaii while seeking employment as an attorney, she pursued a political career.

In 1956, she ran for a seat in the territorial House of Representatives in Hawaii, winning the election and thereby becoming the first Japanese-American woman to serve in the territorial House. Two years later, Mink won a seat in the territorial Senate, becoming the first woman to do so in Hawaii. In addition, she later served for a total of 24 years in the US House of Representatives, between 1965 and 1977, as well as from 1990 until her death in 2002. 

Mink is widely remembered as devoting her career to changing legislation and public policies to open doors for women and minorities. In 2003, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame. In 2014, she was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. 

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