Minoru (Min) Yasui, former chair of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) National Redress committee, has been posthumously recognized with the Martin Luther King Jr. Business Award by the Asian Chamber of Commerce.
Along with six other recipients, Yasui was selected for his “exemplary social responsibility in adherence with the ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” Yasui worked with the Denver Commission on Community Relations for over 20 years, 16 of which as the executive director. He worked “on behalf of diverse communities not only Asian American but also Black, Latino, Native American, religious minorities, immigrants, youth, senior citizens, low income people,” according to the Asian Chamber of Commerce (ACC).
“This award is very meaningful to me and my family since it recognizes my father’s ground-breaking cross-cultural work in defense of the civil liberties of all people, in the context of honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whom he greatly admired,” said Holly in a statement.
Yasui was born on Oct. 19, 1916 in Hood River, Ore. and helped found the Mid-Columbia JACL at 15 years old. He defied Executive Order 9066 because it was “unconstitutional, illegal, and unenforceable” according to the Minoru Yasui Tribute Project website. He is eventually imprisoned in the Minidoka Relocation Camp during World War II. After his release from Minidoka, he settles in Denver and continues to advocate until his death in 1986.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Business Award will be presented at the annual banquet on Jan. 15, 2016 in Denver. Robin Yasui, Yasui’s niece ,will accept the award on behalf of the family.