Gov. Kate Brown issued the following statement about Hood River-native Minoru Yasui, who on Nov. 24 posthumously received the Presidential Medal of Freedom award from President Obama.
“Mr. Yasui was born in Hood River and earned bachelor‘s and law degrees from the University of Oregon. In 1942, he deliberately violated curfews imposed on Japanese Americans and demanded to be arrested as he challenged President Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, which established curfews, exclusion zones, and ultimately the forced incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.
“On behalf of all Oregonians, I am incredibly proud that Minoru Yasui, a son of Hood River, was honored today with a Presidential Medal of Freedom award. He is an Oregon hero who had the courage to take a stand against discrimination. Fighting for freedom cost him dearly, including a wrongful incarceration and a criminal record that followed him like a dark cloud throughout his career.
“It’s not lost on me that we still struggle with these issues. Oregon’s potential to thrive is compromised when any group of people face discrimination. We are stronger when everyone has the opportunity to succeed free from injustice. The best way to honor his courage is by showing our own in the face of new challenges to freedom and justice.”
Minoru Yasui was born in 1916 and died in 1986 after a life in service to social justice for all.