Filming at the site of the former Minidoka War Relocation Authority Camp, 1983. Photo courtesy of the Yasui Family.
SANTA FE — The documentary film-in-progress, Citizen Min in New Mexico, by Holly Yasui, commemorates a little known hero of the Japanese American civil rights movement, Minoru Yasui, who was recently awarded a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The film also presents a historic encounter between Min and Senator Pete Domenici in Albuquerque in 1984. Starting with a program 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., Friday May 6, at the New Mexico History Museum/Palace of the Governors, Min’s daughter, Holly Yasui, will be in New Mexico to tour a two-hour program that includes:
A free screening of selected scenes from Holly Yasui’s Citizen Min in New Mexico,a documentary film-in-progress on her father.
Live readings from Holly Yasui’s biographical play, Citizen Min, which depicts Minoru Yasui, an idealistic young lawyer in 1942
A “talk back” between Holly Yasui and the audience
Synopsis of Citizen Min: The Play Citizen Min takes place in the Multnomah County (Oregon) Jail during 1942, where 25-year-old lawyer Minoru Yasui spends 9 months awaiting the appeal of his test case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
He had violated a curfew imposed on persons of Japanese ancestry, walking the streets of Portland for three hours trying to get arrested, and finally turning himself in at a local police station. Flashbacks show his family life in the farming community of Hood River, Oregon; organization of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL); and the invasion of his family home by the FBI to arrest his immigrant father in the immediate aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Jail scenes depict his interactions with two fellow prisoners on race‐relations and the American Dream; letters from his family describe the conditions for Japanese Americans imprisoned in camps; and visits from the FBI and his attorney deal with legal and ethical issues. An epilogue relates Min’s life after the war as he continues to defend the human and civil rights of all people.
Public contact: Phone number for publication: 505.476.5200; For more information about the museum, log onto www.nmhistorymuseum.org. This program is sponsored by the New Mexico Japanese American Citizens League and funded by a generous grant from the New Mexico Humanities Council.