PATSY TAKEMOTO MINK was a 12 term Congresswoman. Born in 1927 in Hawaii, she knew by age 4 that insisting on anything just might get her what she wanted. Graduating high school as the valedictorian, Patsy wanted to become a doctor. She studied at U. of Hawaii, then moved to U. of Nebraska. She encountered so much racism and segregation she started her own student union, became it’s president and eventually, changed the rules at the university to allow students of color to participate equally in campus life. Illness sent her back to Hawaii. She graduated but applying to a dozen medical schools proved devastating. None would allow her in because she was a woman. In 1946 she went to law school in Chicago.
After graduating and back in Hawaii, Patsy could not get hired so she hung out her own shingle and represented cases that most attorneys didn’t want to handle. By 1955, Patsy also ran for and won, a local Democratic House seat. By 1960, she was speaking at the Dem. Nat’l Convention. And in 1964, Patsy became the first woman of color and the first Asian-American woman to get elected to the US Congress. Twelve terms. Twenty-four years. Title IX, her phenomenal legacy bill states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance”. Patsy went back to Hawaii, was appointed by Pres. Jimmy Carter as Asst. Sec. of State for Oceans & Int’nat’l, Environmental & Scientific Affairs. In 2002, Patsy again ran for Congress. She developed chicken pox, then pneumonia and then passed away before she was elected. In 2014, Pres. Obama awarded her, posthumously, the Medal of Freedom.