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The FIRST Woman of Color Elected to Congress

Female athletes owe one particular trailblazer a world of thanks. However, appreciation and remembrance is not just due from sports players. The late Patsy Mink fought for the rights and equality of all women. “America is not a country which needs to demand conformity of all its people, for its strength lies in all our diversities converging in one common belief, that of the importance of freedom as the essence of our country,” Mink stated when she spoke to the House of Representatives in the year 1967.

Patsy Mink made history. She was the first woman of color elected to Congress in 1964 and the second woman to serve in Congress from Hawaii. Mink studied at the University of Nebraska and then went on to complete law school at the University of Chicago.

Mink did not tolerate sexist notions or bigotry. Unfortunately, prejudice and discrimination were something that was far too familiar for this congresswoman growing up as a Japanese American born in Maui. Beginning in 1880 Americans put laws in place to limit the number of eastern immigrants entering the country. Things worsened after the attack of Pearl Harbor causing many to believe that Japanese Americans are destructive and inferior. As a matter of fact, Anti-Asian legislation did not stop until 1965.

In Hawaii, Mink grew up around plantation life. This was commonplace, although nothing like the slavery of African people, life was still burdensome.  White businessmen from the U.S. owned the land and controlled all aspects of society. This is one reason why she fought so hard for the rights of Asian Americans and women.  

Mink spearheaded many initiates. One of the most notable is the Title IX Amendment of Higher Education. This was passed in 1972 and it did not allow gender discrimination in education programs in public schools. This gave female athletics across the country a fair opportunity to pursue the sports of their passion. This act was so popular and successful that it was renamed to the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act in 2002 by President George Bush following her death. Patsy Mink made a powerful imprint in this nation’s history. May she always be remembered.

Mira Cassidy
Mira Cassidyhttp://miracassidy.com
Follow Mira Cassidy on Instagram! Mira is an award-winning author, journalist, and motivational speaker. As a survivor of domestic violence, Mira works to encourage and educate fellow survivors through public speaking and her journey. Mira loves to travel! Therefore, she is a luxury travel advisor as well who loves helping others see the world through travel! http://amazon.com/author/miracassidy
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