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National Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

DR. VIVEK H. MURTHY

Dr. Vivek H. Murthy was born in Huddersfield, England to immigrants from India in 1977. His family moved to Miami when he was 3 years old, where his parents began a medical practice. Vivek received his bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences from Harvard in 1997, magna cum laude, and in 2003 earned his M.D. and M.B.A. degrees from Yale. He completed his internal medicine residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and later joined Harvard Medical School as faculty in internal medicine.

Dr. Murthy completed his residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. He went on to found and lead Doctors for America, a group of over 15,000 physicians and medical students supporting high quality affordable care for all. In 2011 Murthy was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the U.S. Presidential Advisory Council on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Dr. Vivek H. Murthy served as the 19th Surgeon General of the United States from December 15, 2014 to April 21, 2017.

As America’s Doctor, Dr. Murthy created initiatives to tackle our country’s most urgent public health issues. He chose areas of focus that were raised by people across America during his inaugural listening tour. Highlights included:

  • Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health – the nation’s first Surgeon General’s Report presenting the latest scientific data on addiction and issuing a call to action to the nation to recognize addiction as a chronic illness and not a moral failing.
  • TurnTheTideRx: The Surgeon General’s Call to End the Opioid Crisis – In 2016, Dr. Murthy sent a letter to 2.3 million health care professionals urging them join a movement to tackle the opioid epidemic. This was first time in the history of the office that a Surgeon General had issued a letter calling the medical profession to action.
  • Surgeon General’s Report on E-cigarette Use Among Youth – First federal report on e-cigarettes, highlighting the health risks of e-cigarette use for youth
  • Step It Up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities – Launched efforts to increase physical activity in communities across the country, including a two-week public-private partnership with Fitbit that engaged over 600,000 people to take an industry record-setting 60 billion steps.
  • Get Vaccinated with the Surgeon General and Elmo: Partnered with Elmo in a popular video that demystifies vaccines for parents and children

In 2017, Dr. Murthy focused his attention on chronic stress and isolation as prevalent problems that have profound implications for health, productivity, and happiness. Partnering with the Veterans Health Administration, he led a convening that brought together leading thinkers, researchers, and practitioners to identify scientifically proven ways we can cultivate emotional well-being and fitness to help us thrive among the most challenging circumstances.

In addition to his role as America’s Doctor, as the Vice Admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, Dr. Murthy commanded a uniformed service of 6,600 public health officers, serving the most underserved and vulnerable populations in over 800 locations domestically and abroad. He worked with thousands of Commissioned Corps officers to strengthen the Corps and protect the nation from Ebola and Zika and to respond to the Flint water crisis, major hurricanes, and frequent health care shortages in rural communities.

Dr. Murthy resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Dr. Alice Chen, and their two young children.

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vivek_Murthy

https://www.vivekmurthy.com/about

 

NORMAN MINETA

Mineta was born on November 12, 1931, in San Jose, California, to Japanese immigrant parents, who were not allowed to become U.S. citizens at that time due to the Asian Exclusion Act. In 1942 the Minetas were forcibly removed from their home and sent to Heart Mountain WWII Internment Camp in Wyoming. They returned to San Jose in 1946 where Mineta attended San Jose High School and the University of California, Berkeley. He enrolled in the Army and was an intelligence officer while stationed in Korea and Japan.

Mineta began his political career on the San Jose city council in 1967, filling a vacancy and becoming the city’s first minority council member. In 1971, he became the first Asian American mayor of a major U.S. city. After three years as mayor, Mineta was elected as a Democrat to Congress from northern California’s Silicon Valley region, which he served from 1975 to 1995. He co-founded the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. He chaired the House Public Works and Transportation Committee and sought more money for transportation infrastructure. In 1991 the ISTEA (The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act), authored by Norm, is signed into law by President George H.W. Bush.

Although Mineta achieved many acts of congress, the redress bill was his signature accomplishment. Filed with another California Democrat of Japanese American origin, Robert T. Matsui of Sacramento, H.R. 442 became the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. It earmarked $20,000 to Japanese American families sent to internment camps—about $1.2 billion overall. Included was an official apology from the U.S. government. Mineta tearfully recounted his own internment experiences on the floor of Congress. “Now, more than 40 years later, Congress has the opportunity to close the books on one of the most shameful events in our history,” Mineta said while introducing the bill in 1985, according to text available from the Congressional Record. “Those interned were not foreign spies carrying briefcases with secrets. . . . Most of those interned were born in this country and were proud citizens from birth.” Mineta, at the outbreak of the first Persian Gulf War in 1991, pleaded with federal officials not to similarly target Arab Americans. For his efforts, Mineta received the Martin Luther King, Jr., Commemorative Medal from George Washington University in 1995.

In 2000, Mineta was named by President Clinton as Secretary of Commerce. There, Mineta was known for his work on technology issues, achieving international cooperation and intergovernmental coordination on complex fisheries issues, and for streamlining the patent and trademark process.

President George W. Bush appointed Mineta Secretary of Transportation, where he served until 2006. Following the horrific terrorist acts of September 11, 2001, Mineta grounded all aviation flights and then guided the creation of the Transportation Security Administration—an agency with more than 65,000 employees— marking the largest mobilization of a new federal agency since World War II.

Recognized for his leadership, Mineta has received numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the highest civilian honor in the United States—and the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy, which is awarded for significant public service of enduring value to aviation in the United States.

Norm currently resides in Annapolis, Maryland with his wife Deni. He continues to mentor aspiring political leaders and holds speaking engagements across the country and internationally.

Sources:

http://minetalegacyproject.com/timeline/
https://www.encyclopedia.com/people/history/us-history-biographies/norman-y-mineta
https://en.ashinaga.org/kenjintatsujinmember/norman-yoshio-mineta/

 

In honor of AAPI Heritage Month, Maynard Cooper employees will have the exclusive opportunity to learn from Peggy Nagae and Dale Minami, two civil rights lawyers who have been recognized by the ABA and other organizations for their work in righting a wrong in American history.

PEGGY NAGAE

Peggy Nagae was the first Japanese American to be a member of the Oregon State Bar and was the lead attorney in Yasui v. United States, re-opening Mr. Yasui’s Supreme Court case for violating the curfew imposed upon Japanese Americans during World War II. Along with the cases of Korematsu v. United States and Hirabayashi v. United States, this case challenged the constitutionality of such government actions upon private citizens without due process

She received her A.B., cum laude, from Vassar College in East Asian Studies, a J.D. degree with honors from Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark College, an M.A in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica, and a Bachelor of Illumination from the Jwalan Muktikã School for Illumination. Ms. Nagae also holds certificates from the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University, the Covey Leadership Center, and several dispute resolution centers.

After law school, she spent a decade working at the Multnomah County Legal Aid and in private practice as a trial attorney, the University of Oregon School of Law as an assistant dean for academic affairs, and the Urban Indian Council as senior trial attorney. She has practiced law as a criminal and civil trial attorney, worked as director of associates at a Seattle litigation firm, Affirmative Action Director at Northwestern School of Law, and an adjunct professor in dispute resolution at the University of Puget Sound School of Law (now Seattle University). In 1988, she founded the consulting firm Peggy Nagae Consulting in Portland. Ms. Nagae has presided as president and is currently co-chair of the Diversity Task Force for the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.  She also served as vice-chair, American Bar Association Commission Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession; and president, Asian Bar of Washington. In 1996 she was appointed by President Clinton to serve on the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund Board, where 3.5 million dollars was distributed to individuals and organizations so that the tragedy of the Japanese American incarceration would not be repeated.

She is a former board member of both the Asian American Justice Center and the Center for Asian Pacific American Women, and is co-chair of the Leadership Advisory Council for the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.

In addition to her work, Ms. Nagae is also as an author. She is finalizing a book with her co-author LueRachelle Brim-Atkins entitled Heart at Work: Practical Team Rituals that Honor Body, Mind, and Spirit.

Source: http://diversitycollaborative.com/peggy-nagae/

DALE MINAMI

In 2019, Dale Minami was the first Asian American to receive the American Bar Association’s highest honor, the ABA Medal. He is recognized as one of the top personal injury lawyers in the San Francisco Bay Area and was selected as a Super Lawyer for each year from 2004 through 2019 in the Personal Injury category, one of the Top 100 Super Lawyers for Northern California in 2005 and from 2007 to 2019, and in the Top Ten Super Lawyers in the Personal Injury Category from 2013 through 2018.

He was born in Los Angeles, California, and was admitted to the California State Bar in 1972. Mr. Minami received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Southern California and graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1968. He received his J.D. in 1971 from the University of California Berkeley School of Law, University of California and admitted to practice in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, and the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit. In 1982, he was admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court.

He has been involved in significant litigation involving the civil rights of Asian Pacific Americans and other minorities, such as Korematsu v. United States, a lawsuit to overturn a 40-year-old conviction for refusal to obey exclusion orders aimed at Japanese Americans during World War II, originally upheld by U.S. Supreme Court.

Other landmark decisions involving Mr. Minami include: United Pilipinos for Affirmative Action v. California Blue Shield, the first class action employment lawsuit brought by Asian Pacific Americans on behalf of Asian Pacific Americans; Spokane JACL v. Washington State University, a class action on behalf of Asian Pacific Americans to establish an Asian American Studies program at Washington State University; and Nakanishi v. UCLA, a claim for unfair denial of tenure that resulted in the granting of tenure after several hearings and widespread publicity over discrimination in academia.

He was a co-founder of the Asian Law Caucus, the first community interest law firm serving Asian Pacific Americans in the country; a co-founder of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, the first Asian American Bar Association in the United States; an original incorporator of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund; the Asian Pacific Bar of California; and the Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans, one of the nation’s first political action committees focused on Asian American candidates and issues.

Mr. Minami has been involved in the judicial appointment process and in establishing or influencing public policy and legislation. President Clinton appointed him as Chair of the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund in January 1996. Mr. Minami has served as a member of the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission and has chaired the California Attorney General’s Asian Pacific Advisory Committee, advising the State’s Attorney General on key issues. He has also served as a Commissioner on the State Bar’s Commission on Judicial Nominee’s Evaluation, and on Senator Barbara Boxer’s Judicial Screening Committee, which made recommendations for federal judicial appointments.

Currently, Mr. Minami serves on the advisory boards of the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation, the Korematsu Institute, the Asian Pacific Fund, and Seattle University’s Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality. He is a founder of the Judge Robert M. Takasugi Fellowship, dedicated to providing stipends to law students who commit to public interest work. He has taught at U.C. Berkeley and Mills College in Oakland and was Co-Executive Producer (with Philip Kan Gotanda) of “Drinking Tea” and “Life Tastes Good”, both of which were screened at the Sundance Film Festival.

Source: https://www.minamitamaki.com/attorneys/daleminami/ 

Additional Resources:

https://www.americanbar.org/news/abanews/aba-news-archives/2019/06/aba-medal-2019/

https://law.lclark.edu/live/news/35057-peggy-nagae-7-to-receive-aba-spirit-of-excellence-award

Korematsu and related cases, and the later reversal:

Japanese Internment during WWII / Korematsu v. United States Korematsu (27:03)(best video), which includes commentary by Supreme Court justices, former Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, Karen Korematsu, and Dale Minami.

Fred Korematsu’s story  (6:22) In his own words

Coram Nobis cases:

http://encyclopedia.densho.org/Coram_nobis_cases/

https://densho.org/american-concentration-camps/  (5:05 min)

https://densho.org/righting-a-wrong/ (5:39)

The all-Japanese 100th Battalion & 442nd Regimental Combat Team WWII – the most decorated in history  (6:27 min)

 

PATSY MINK
First Asian American Women Elected to Congress (1927 – 2002)

Patsy Mink was the first woman of color elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and the first Asian-American woman to serve in Congress. In addition to writing bills like Title IX, the Early Childhood Education Act, and the Women’s Educational Equity Act, Mink was the first Asian-American to run for U.S. President.

Patsy Matsu Takemoto was born on December 6, 1927 in Paia, Hawaii. When she was a junior at Maui High School, she won her first election as class president. She graduated in 1944 as the valedictorian. After graduation, she went on to attend Wilson College in Pennsylvania and the University of Nebraska but transferred after facing racial discrimination. All students of color were not allowed to live in the same dorms as white students. In addition, Mink was diagnosed with a thyroid condition that needed surgery. She decided to move to Honolulu to finish her schooling at the University of Hawaii with hopes of becoming a doctor. At her new school, she became a member of the varsity debate team, and was elected president of the Pre-Medicine Students Club. She graduated in 1948 with majors in zoology and chemistry. She applied to several medical schools after graduating but none of her applications were accepted. Instead, Mink decided to apply to law school and was accepted at the University of Chicago Law School.

Patsy graduated from Law School in 1951 and in 1952 she moved with her husband and daughter back to Hawaii. Patsy Mink registered for the bar exam to be able to practice law in the territory of Hawaii. Unfortunately, even after she passed, Mink was unable to find a job because of her interracial marriage. She decided to start her own practice instead and founded the Oahu Young Democrats in 1954. She became the first Japanese-American woman to practice law in her home state of Hawaii. Mink also worked as a private attorney for the House of Representatives in that territory. When Hawaii became a state in 1959, Mink immediately began campaigning to be elected as a congresswoman. Although Mink’s first attempt was unsuccessful, she returned to politics in 1962 when she won a seat in the Hawaii State Senate.

In 1964, a second position was created in the U.S. House of Representatives. With the help of her husband and several unpaid volunteers, Mink won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, making her the first Asian-American woman to serve in Congress. As a congresswoman, Mink fought for gender and racial equality, affordable childcare, bilingual education, and became a supporter of Title IX. She was one of the authors and sponsors of the Title IX law that stated that “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.”[1] While she worked in Washington, D.C., she also traveled back to Hawaii every other week to make sure she was connected to the issues and concerns of the Hawaiian people. She successfully served on many committees while in congress including; the Committee on Education and Labor, Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, and the Budget Committee. Through these committees, she was able to voice the concerns of groups that were discriminated against. In 1974, she was able to pass the Women’s Educational Equity Act to promote gender equality in schools.

Recognized for her work, Mink was asked by the Oregon Democrats to run for United States President with the support of their party. Their focus on the anti-war movement attracted Mink, and she decided to run for president. Unfortunately, she only received 2 percent of the vote. After this, Mink remained active in politics and served as the president of the Americans for Democratic Action. She also served as Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. In 1990, Mink was reelected to Congress and served six terms in the House of Representatives. During this time she also formed the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. In August of 2002, Patsy Mink was hospitalized for pneumonia and a month later, she died in Honolulu, Hawaii. Due to the upcoming election, her name was still on the ballot in November even though she passed away a month before. She won the election by a landslide but was replaced by Ed Case. After her death, the Title IX law was renamed the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act.

Source: Alexander, Kerri Lee. “Patsy Mink.” National Women’s History Museum, 2019.

 

 

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