Civil Rights Discussion At Library Monday

Minoru Yasui


The public is invited to a special presentation on the topic of Japanese-American internment during World War II, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Monday, May 9 at Mesa Public Library.

There will be a live reading by actors of the play “Citizen Min” and film clips from the documentary-in-progress “Never Give Up: Minoru Yasui and the Fight for Justice,” followed by a discussion of the issues. The featured speaker is filmmaker and playwright Holly Yasui, daughter of MinoroYasui, the Japanese-American attorney who devoted his entire career to civil rights, and who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Minoru Yasui was the first Japanese-American attorney to practice law in Oregon. In 1942, outraged against the persecution of Americans based on Japanese ancestry, he made himself a test case against the military orders that led to the forced removal and imprisonment of all Japanese Americans. He spent 9 months in solitary confinement, until his case was heard before the Supreme Court, then finished out the war years in a camp. After the war, he went on to practice law in Colorado, where he had a distinguished career specializing in civil rights for all Americans.

Minoru Yasui was active in the call for redress, and spoke passionately about the need for an apology to the people who had suffered through no fault of their own. He so impressed Sen. Domenici at a talk in Albuquerque that Domenici changed his opinion on redress and went on to support the bill in the Senate.

The program is funded by the New Mexico Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and presented by the New Mexico Japanese American Citizens League, the Minoru Yasui Tribute Project and the Los Alamos County Library System.

To see an excerpt of Holly Yasui’s film about her father, which is narrated by George Takei, visit

For more information about events at the Library, call 662-8253 or visit the Events page on the Library website,