A march in honor of the late civil rights pioneer Minoru Yasui is scheduled to take place March 28 in his home town of Portland, Oregon on March 28.
That day will mark the 44th anniversary of the night Yasui deliberately broke the curfew that had been placed on all Japanese people under Executive Order 9066.
The march is also being held in celebration of the passage of the historic bill passed last month by the Oregon Senate & House designating March 28 each year as Minoru Yasui day.
Yasui in November became the first-ever Oregonian awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the country.
“It is important that we teach our children about this ugly history to ensure we will never repeat the mistakes of our past,” said Holly Yasui, daughter of Minoru Yasui and co-founder of the Minoru Yasui Tribute Committee.
Yasui spent nine months in solitary confinement for the curfew violation and then was sent to Minidoka War Relocation Center, one of ten incarceration camps run by the federal government. It was his belief the evacuation order was unconstitutional and he wanted to challenge it in court.
The first Minoru Yasui Day March for Justice will retrace Min’s historic walk on that fateful day in 1942, going to the former site of his law office in the Foster Hotel in Old Town Japantown and ending at the former site of police headquarters where he was arrested. Attendees are asked to gather at Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center (121 NW 2nd Avenue) at 4:30pm for the short 6 block walk followed by a program in the foyer and reception in the offices of Stoll Berne at SW Second Avenue and Oak Street.
Prior to the march proceeding, attendees will be able to view the 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously awarded to the family of Minoru Yasui which will be on display at the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center. This special event will conclude with speeches made by Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and other prominent public officials, civil rights leaders, and family members.
Minoru Yasui, the first Japanese American attorney admitted to the Oregon State Bar, was a lifelong member of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL). He was Chair of the National Redress Committee and devoted the last years of his life, heart and soul, to that movement.
“We are inspired by Minoru Yasui’s ideals and accomplishments and are dedicated to continue his work for civil rights and the protection of our civil liberties,” said Oregon Nikkei Endowment Executive Director Lynn Fuchigami Longfellow. “The Inaugural Minoru Yasui Day March for Justice is not only a tribute to his legacy, but is an annual reminder in why we must stand up and speak out for all marginalized communities, no matter your race, creed, color, sex, national origin, or religion. In the words of Min himself, ‘We will continue to fight this ever happening to another American group until our last breath.’”
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