Members of the HRV Gay Straight Alliance and journalism class participated in a peaceful march for equality in down town Portland, along with other local protesters in support of Min Yasui, a Japanese American activist.
From now on, March 28th is a holiday in Oregon celebrating the efforts of Min Yasui to bring equality to Japanese Americans. On that date in year 1942 Yasui stayed out on the streets of Portland past the “Japanese Curfew,” in order to purposely be arrested. Through the trial that followed, he eventually disproved the laws against Japanese Americans and promoted equality, but it took years, and he spent nine years in solitary confinement.
The freedom march that HRV students participated in followed the same walk that Yasui took to encourage his arrest for breaking an unfair law. He was awarded the national Medal of Honor by President Obama.
It is important for students to understand the prejudice that existed in our area towards the Japanese American’s, almost all of whom were American citizens. Systematic racism such as this is still present, and we see examples of it in the news all the time, but tend to think that it’s not as big of a deal.
For more information about the history of Japanese Americans in Portland, visit: