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Tributes to Patsy Mink

In Memoriam: Patsy Mink

As a former welfare mom who has managed to successfully move forward with my life and career, I cannot properly express what Ms. Mink's courage and perseverance have meant to me.

Because of her tireless devotion, not only to her own constituents but to all American women, I don't have to fear raising my daughter in a country that doesn't provide her with the same educational opportunities that she would have had if she'd been born male. Ms. Mink's tireless devotion to women and the poor is not only admirable, but has literally changed lives around the world, as the United States has often stood as a model for developing countries.

Ms. Mink was truly an inspiration and advocate for those of us who may have been lost in poverty without her. I know you couldn't possibly be prouder of who she was and what she accomplished, but I wanted you to know that she made a great impact on my life, and on the lives of thousands of other women, whether they are aware of it or not. Ms. Mink will forever in live in my mind as a testimony to what a woman can accomplish and she is the definition of a great American. I wish to convey all my respect for her, and my condolences to you for your loss.

—Ashley Denton-Clark, Austin, Texas

"This is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end, it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
—Winston Churchill

Patsy T. Mink was the beginning of so many things. Being born at the time when women and especially minority women were not woven into the fabric of America. Just being accepted at a university was a challenge for women. Arriving at the University of Nebraska, she fought and won a battle against segregated student housing.

The first Japanese American woman attorney in Hawai'i, having a law degree from the prestigious University of Chicago. None of the local law firms would hire her, she started her own firm. She knew that unless she worked actively to change things, she would never get anywhere professionally like generations before her.

Mrs. Mink was the first president of the newly formed Young Democrats in 1954. The first woman of color to serve in the U. S. House of Representatives. Patsy was one of the first and most vociferous opponents in Congress to the war in Vietnam. One of the first members of the women's movement. She never wavered from her role as a proud, partisan, liberal feminist.

A member of the NAACP and other civil rights organizations. She authored Title IX legislation that opened up school athletics and academics to women. Authoring volumes of laws for the betterment of women and children, early childhood education and family medical leave. She always had time for the disenfranchised and the poor.

The tiniest woman with the biggest voice in Congress. McCall's magazine named her one of the 10 best politicians in Congress. Patsy took on the entire United State Air Force during the Viet Nam War to move my family to Hawaii. For the past 30+ years she has been there for me, and countless other people. Everyone I know has a "Patsy story."

I only wish I had one tenth of her valor, courage, and confidence to take a position and staunchly never bow. I will miss her so much.

Saturday, September 28, 2002 was the end of the beginning.

—Marsha R. Joyner, Honolulu, Hawaii

Patsy Mink was a feminist champion—a true friend of the women's, civil rights and social justice movements. I can close my eyes and hear her booming voice, her clear vision. She has left an indelible mark on the women's movement and all of us who were lucky enough to know her, work with her, and share her passion for a more just society, free from discrimination and poverty. The millions of young women who have benefited from Title IX will have better lives because of her determination, strength, and inspiration. Her life work, struggle, and accomplishments for the rights of all people—this is her true memorial. At our last dinner with her this summer at the NOW Conference we strategized about how to save Title IX from the current Bush Administration attacks. We will miss you in the fight, Patsy, but we will keep on, keeping on — thank you for leaving us so much worth fighting for.

—Eleanor Cutri Smeal, Arlington, Va.

I never will forget being backstage at the 1992 March for Women's Lives and Patsy come out onto the stage to address the crowd. She proudly proclaimed she was "from the great state of Hawaii — the first state to ratify the ERA." Though small in height, I will always remember her as a giant with a heart of pure gold. We will miss her greatly ...

—Candy Kern-Fuller, Piedmont, S.C.

I pay final tribute to my dear friend and colleague, Congresswoman Patsy Mink.

Congresswoman Mink was able to break through racial and gender barriers to attain goals that others thought were impossible. Her career was a series of firsts: the first woman of color elected to Congress, the first Asian-American woman to practice law in Hawaii, the first Asian-American woman to be elected to the Territorial House.

Representative Mink entered this world as a fighter for equality. Born in Maui in December of 1928, from her earliest years, she was encouraged to excel in academic courses. As a four year old, she recalled how she hung onto the shirt of her older brother, demanding, and eventually winning the right to accompany him to the first grade.

As Patsy Mink grew up in Hawaii, she saw her life change overnight with the bombing of Pearl Harbor. She turned 14 the day before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. At that time, anyone who was looked up to in the Japanese community was seen as a threat; this included her father. He was taken away for questioning but returned to the family. Patsy realized that anyone could be arrested for no reason except that they were Japanese.

Mink attended Maui High School, where she played basketball at a time when girls played half-court because, as Mink put it, "they said it was too strenuous for us." When she ran for student body president during her junior year in high school and won that campaign, she began her unofficial political career. In 1944 she graduated as high school class valedictorian.

Representative Mink went on to attend college at the University of Hawaii, but transferred to the University of Nebraska where she faced a policy of segregated student housing. She arrived at the campus and was housed at the international house. When she found that this housing was for the "colored" students, she was outraged. Patsy wrote a letter of protest and sent it to the local newspaper. The accompanying protests and objections resulted in the University changing its policies.

However, Patsy was not able to enjoy the changes she had caused to be made because she became very ill and had to return to Hawaii where she finished her baccalaureate degree.

She returned to the University of Hawaii to prepare for medical school and graduated with a degree in zoology and chemistry. However, in 1948, none of the twenty medical schools to which she applied would accept women.

She decided to study law and was accepted by the University of Chicago because they considered her a "foreign student." Choosing not to inform the University that Hawaii was an American territory, she obtained her Doctor of Jurisprudence in 1951.

Getting a job in the legal field was not easy for a woman at that time, but that did not deter Patsy. No one was willing to hire her, even as a law clerk. She worked at the University of Chicago Law School library until the eighth month of her pregnancy. Six months after giving birth, she, her husband John and baby daughter Gwendolyn moved to Hawaii.

When she found no law firm that would hire a woman, she decided to start her own firm. She became the first Japanese-American woman lawyer in Hawaii. She also taught at the University of Hawaii.

In 1965, Patsy Mink was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and began the first of six consecutive terms in the House of Representatives. Again, she was the first woman of color to be elected to Congress.

Mink's ability to build coalitions for progressive legislation continued during her tenure in Congress. She introduced the first comprehensive Early Childhood Education Act and authorized the Women's Educational Equity Act.

Mink believed one of her most significant accomplishments in Congress was Title IX of the Education Act, which she helped authored in 1972. It mandated gender equality in any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Title IX has become the major tool for women's fuller participation, not only in sports, but in all aspects of education. The law promotes equality in school athletics. Scholarship money for women increased from $100,000 in 1972 to $179 million in 1997, but was equally important in opening academics.

Representative Mink was an early opponent of the Vietnam War and accompanied fellow Representative Bella Abzug, D-N.Y., to Paris to talk to participants in the Vietnam War peace talks. She supported women's rights, was against the death penalty and had as her spending priorities education, housing and health. Mink's strong liberal stands led conservative opponents to dub her "Patsy Pink."

Her career included an appointment by President Jimmy Carter as Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans, International, Environmental and Scientific Affairs from 1977 to 1978.

Patsy Mink returned to Washington, D.C. in 1991 and has been here ever since.

Congresswoman Patsy Mink was an aggressive fighter for what was best for citizens of the second district in Hawaii, as well as this nation as a whole. She was a tireless supporter of the Congressional Black Caucus. She was a disciplined and focused advocate for the voiceless. And she was my dear friend. As Heaven gains another angel, we in Congress mourn our unfortunate loss. May God be with the Mink family.

— Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas)

I am truly saddened to hear of Patsy Mink's passing. I was privileged to hear her speak at the national NOW conference in June of this year, and I was amazed by her life story, her passion, her fortitude and her strength. She is an inspiration to me and a true hero. She will be sorely missed by the world.

—Jill Vibhakar, MD, Iowa City, Iowa

I had the pleasure of joining about 15,000 women, men, and children in the stands of a Washington Mystics basketball game this past summer in a salute to Rep. Mink's efforts on behalf of Title IX. Every fan and player in attendance knew that the WNBA would likely not exist if it weren't for Title IX. We were pleased to get the opportunity to express our gratitude.

While clapping for her and others that day, I was reminded of being a 12-year-old girl not great at basketball, but I loved playing anyway. One day in gym class, I was upset to find out that the time-worn ball the girls were given to play with was partially flat. On its side was written in faded ink "Boys Gym Class". That writing was crossed out and "Girls" was written next to it in fresh ink. Were it not for Rep. Patsy Mink's efforts to pass Title IX and my knowledge of this new law, I never would have had the gumption to protest to the gym teacher and the athletic department. When I reminded them that I knew it was against the new law for them to give girls lesser equipment and facilities, we got new balls soon enough.

Thank you, Rep. Mink. Your work helped give a 12-year old a voice. On behalf of myself and the sports that I played, my nieces and their friends who played college sports, my friends and other season ticket holders to the WNBA, and my 2-year old niece who may want to play a sport some day, thank you for your courage, wisdom, and vision. You helped enrich the lives of millions of women.

—Terri Kelly, Washington, D.C.

Patsy Mink was a forerunner and gatecrasher for women's issues and Asian Americans. Her vision, her commitment, and her wisdom were ones that touched the lives of many, and paved the way for others.

—Jean Lau Chin, Newton, Mass.

I would like to thank Patsy Mink, a leader, a visionary, a mentor, and a true advocate for so many who had no voice. Patsy Mink was a woman I looked up to, learned from, and was inspired by. As the first woman of color elected to the U.S. Congress in 1964, Patsy knew what it meant to break down barriers. Her passion was for those who were otherwise forgotten or pushed to the side.

Patsy was a strong fighter for women's rights. Her leadership in the fight for equality for women and girls in education and sports has made an everlasting impact on this country. The passage of Title IX has literally changed the lives of millions of young girls and women. It opened the doors to countless opportunities for women and girls and allowed us to dream bigger than we ever had before. It allowed more people to see women as Olympic athletes and competitors. It allowed parents to see their daughters as softball players and runners. It challenged school administrators and coaches to see the potential in female athletes and embrace it.

Patsy was a relentless fighter for low-income and poor families. She had great compassion for those who were struggling against the odds to work and provide for their families. She wasn't afraid to make her voice heard in standing up for fair treatment of women receiving welfare benefits, workers' rights and fair pay, and children who were lacking food or a good education. Patsy was a fearless fighter for the environment. She helped protect Hawaii's natural beauty in national parks and worked at the local level to help communities preserve their lands. Patsy was a lifelong fighter for civil rights. She knew what it meant to stand up in the face of adversity and she worked hard to break down barriers so those coming after her would instead experience justice and equality.

Patsy was tough and passionate. I can see her now shaking her small but mighty fist as she eloquently challenged an injustice. Patsy was a pioneer and a trailblazer. As we honor the memory of Patsy Mink today, we should also think about the future that she would want and work to achieve it. Patsy would want Congress to pass a Labor/HHS bill that truly leaves no child behind. She would want Congress to fully fund the Women's Education Equity Act. She wanted to see passage of a welfare bill that lifts women and children out of poverty, not just off the welfare rolls. Patsy wants us to make sure that all people have a fair chance.

Today, as I mourn with my colleagues and extend my condolences to her family and to the people of Hawaii, I honor the memory of Patsy Mink and all that she stood for. And I deeply miss her beautiful smile.

—Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.)

I was a freshman in high school when Mrs. Mink came to speak to our class. This was during the peak of the Viet Nam war and her views on the war were not popular. I had heard on the news of some scheme in Washington to stifle Mrs. Mink's views, and after her prepared presentation and virtually on her way out of the building, I managed to ask her what she thought of the situation. She stopped, grasped my hand and said "Hell yes, they are trying to shut me up! But it won't happen! They are wrong and they know it, and I'll continue to have my say no matter what they try!" Needless to say I was stunned and so proud she had stopped to answer me directly and with such candor! I had always admired her, but since that day Mrs. Mink became a role model to me and I shall always remember her bravery and strength. God's Speed, Patsy Mink.

—Len Perez, Aiea, Hawaii

There were not many minority women as role models in the 60's when I was growing up in Molokai, Hawaii. Shortly after Hawaii's statehood in 1959 (I was a 7th grader) I learned about Representative Patsy Mink who soon became the first congresswoman from Hawaii. Not only was she a woman, but a minority woman. Also of Asian ancestry, I saw the possibilities of my own involvement in public policy, even if it meant just reminding my parents to make it to the voting booth. Representative Mink represented and led her people from her heart. When I listened to her speak out on women's issues I wanted to go to the polls to vote. She motivated me to be knowledgeable about public policy and to seriously consider my privilege and responsibility to participate in the public dialogue.

Although I now have lived in Seattle, Wash. and in Anchorage, Alaska for most of my life, I still remember realizing when Representative Patsy Mink was first elected to Congress, that I, too, could participate in meaningful public dialogue. Why? Because she reflected to me the possibilities of an Asian woman being elected, heard, and participating in shaping the future of our nation. As a young, impressionable teenage girl in Molokai, this was not a small dream.

Representative Mink paved the way for many other women, especially Asian women, to gain the confidence to become leaders and to speak out for themselves and their families. There were many times when as a young woman I struggled with my confidence to step-up to leadership, someone would say, "Look at Patsy Mink and see what she has done!"

Yes, Representative Mink has reached several generations of women and influenced many of us to follow her footsteps as advocates for women's rights, but especially to be able to stand up and speak out for justice, even if I stand only 5'3-1/2 inches tall. I will always be grateful for her strong leadership and advocacy for women. She will be missed, but never forgotten.

—Deborah Gomez, Anchorage, Alaska

Remarks of U.S. Rep. Julia Carson

H. RES. Expressing The Condolences Of The House

On The Death Of The Honorable Patsy Mink

In the greatest book ever written and the most universally read book of all times it is worth recalling in this most solemn period of the U.S. House of Representatives:

Chapter 3 Ecclesiastes (in part):
"For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die — a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which has been planted."

Rep. Patsy Mink represented her seasons and her purpose under heaven, she planted great eternal seeds in her season and fertilized them well.

  • Mr. Speaker, today I am filled with sorrow over the passing of Congresswoman Patsy Takemoto Mink. She was a remarkable woman and a wonderful friend.
  • It is not often that you meet a person who regarded "service to mankind" with the passion, conviction and fortitude exhibited by Patsy. I will miss her very much.
  • She championed for the economically challenged on many issues: whether welfare or TANF — She believed that families, especially children, with little or no income, are entitled to quality of life that encourages work, education, parental involvement, and health care.
  • Further the government should assist — rather than hinder this entitlement.
  • That the story of the true American spirit is as rich and diverse as the people who created it.
  • That the story of American women working together to form a more perfect union, expanding the idea of representative government and democratic principles has helped create a spirit of possibility and purpose — the American Spirit.
  • That the Asian-Pacific and Filipino veterans who fought for this democracy should not remain invisible but enjoy the same privileges as all veterans.
  • That the Women's Educational Equity Act of 1994 and Title IX will create an attitude and atmosphere of equity in women's educational opportunities.
  • Patsy's support of Title IX has allowed the number of females participating in interscholastic sports to increase from 300,000 in 1971 to approximately 2.4 million in present day.
  • Her devotion to expanding opportunities was truly remarkable; academic, athletic, vocational, whatever the opportunity, that for females the opportunity be equal to males
  • Patsy's web page bears this quote from a 1973 news article. She said, "It is easy enough to vote right and be consistently with the majority ... but it is more often more important to be ahead of the majority and this means being willing to cut the first furrow in the ground and stand alone for a while if necessary."
  • Please know that the Mink family; her husband John, and daughter, Wendy, and many loyal constituents are in my thoughts and prayers these days, and I extend my heartfelt appreciation for loaning us such an extraordinary, tireless and fearless human being.

I wish you Godspeed.

—Rep. Julia Carson (D-Ind.)

I am a member of a civil rights advocacy group known as The USDA Coalition of Minority Employees (The Coalition). We work for the rights of employees in the federal sector.

I first met Congresswoman Mink in 1999. Members of The Coalition were meeting with congressional representatives in Washington, D.C. to obtain assistance in stopping harassment and discrimination at the USDA. Though The Coalition is really just one of many "ragtag" groups seeking support for civil rights issues throughout the country, Congresswoman Mink treated us with the utmost respect and dignity. Congresswoman Mink was one of the most supportive representatives with whom we met.

She had a passion for justice and my admiration for her was great. I remember her office being filled with pictures and artifacts that represented her belief of equal justice for all. I believe her fight for women's rights was best served by the example she personally set. Congresswoman Mink personally spoke at The Coalition's Rally on Capitol Hill in 2000. Congresswoman Mink was instrumental in obtaining a meeting in the White House for The Coalition in 2001. I have had many pictures taken with congressional representatives over the years, but my favorite is the one in which I am standing next to Congresswoman Mink at the Capitol as she speaks of civil rights issues. Congresswoman Mink may have been a small woman in stature, but she was six feet tall to me. I will always look up to her in memory.

—Lesa L. Donnelly, Corning, Calif.

Patsy Mink was a one-of-a-kind leader and fighter for American women and girls, and for anyone who was not getting a fair shake. We and the country will miss her terribly.

—Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President, National Women's Law Center, Washington, D.C.

This weekend, Congress lost one of its great members: a woman of major legislative accomplishments and a woman whose personal story is itself an example of a life dedicated to public service.

Patsy Mink's life was a series of firsts. She was the first Japanese- American woman licensed to practice law in Hawaii; the first Asian-American woman elected to Hawaii's Territorial House; and she was the first woman of color elected to Congress.

Patsy Mink was a was a tireless champion for equality, civil rights and the environment. She was a co-author of Title IX, the civil rights legislation that broadened the opportunities of girls and women in both academics and athletics. She helped write environmental protection laws and worked to expand national parks.

But Patsy did not limit herself to the legislative arena in pursuing her goal of social justice. When the Environmental Protection Agency refused to give her important environmental records, she sued the agency under the Freedom of Information Act. Her case became the first FOIA case to be argued before the Supreme Court, and it significantly expanded the public's access to government information.

In the 1950s, while a student at the University of Chicago law school, Patsy was made part of a medical experiment without her knowledge. She was pregnant at the time, and when she went to the school's clinic, she was given the drug DES as part of an experiment. The drug was promoted to prevent miscarriages, but in fact it increased the risks of reproductive complications in the children of the women who took it, as well as increasing the risk of cancer in their daughters.

Patsy didn't learn about this experiment until after she was elected to Congress. But when she did, she took action to make sure this didn't happen to others. She sued the University of Chicago clinic as well as the drug's manufacturer under the novel theory that giving someone medical treatment without their permission was a battery. She prevailed, as she so often did in her life, and in her settlement she ensured that the other women who were unknowingly part of this experiment also got needed medical care.

We will miss Ms. Mink greatly and I join with my colleagues in offering my condolences to the entire Mink family.

—Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.)

Hawaii, the United States, women of color and women everywhere have lost a great champion in the person of Patsy Mink, who worked tirelessly for women's rights/equality. It is because of her that Title IX exists. I am so very glad that I got the pleasure/privilege of seeing/hearing her when NOW presented her with the 'Woman of Vision' award at the national conference in St. Paul in June.

Aloha, Patsy Mink !!

—Rhoda M. Bradshaw, South Bend, Ind.

I first became aware of Ms. Mink when I was a child learning about feminism. She rapidly became one of my role models. Her contribution to Title IX had a huge impact on my life. I had the great honor to meet her at the NOW National Conference in June; I shook her hand and babbled because I was so excited to meet her.

I just want to say thank you for all the wonderful things she did for so many people.

—Kaiya L. Iverson, Lisle, Ill.

The mark of an American hero is a person who created reality and shaped the values that we take for granted today. Patsy Mink is one such American hero. Each time we look around at what America is today, we should think of Patsy Mink—because our nation is a better place due to the contributions she made throughout life.

She fought for civil rights in an era of segregation. She was an advocate for Asian Americans after the internment policy of World War II. She opposed a war before it made headlines. She fought to provide EVERY child with a quality education. And she created opportunities for girls to play college sports—sparking a revolution for an entire generation that is now the envy of the world.

She was the first in so many things—the first female student body president, the first Japanese-American woman to practice law in Hawai'i, the first Asian-American woman elected to Congress—all things we take for granted today. We should always remember, it was Patsy who fought to get us here.

Perhaps Patsy herself summed up her life and legacy best when she said, "My career in politics has been a crucible of challenges and crises where in the end, the principles to which I was committed, prevailed."

We should all strive to be as dedicated to our causes and as passionate in our arguments as Patsy was to hers. For the many causes she championed, there was no fiercer advocate than Patsy Mink. And we are all better Americans for her efforts.

I know everyone here will miss her, and mourn her passing with her husband and daughter.

—Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.), speaking on the House floor, Oct. 1, 2002

Patsy worked so hard for women all of the U.S. and I want to thank you on behalf of all of them. She has personally improved my world through her work on Title IX. But now in this moment of grief for your family I realize, if she was this wonderful to me, a stranger, how great was she to you, her family. Your loss is great but when you look to celebrate her life you have much to smile about. Patsy Mink was special, thank you for sharing her with the rest of us.

—Sylvia Grass, Independence, Mo.

I have professional experiences as well as personal anecdotes that add to the body of evidence that Patsy Mink was truly one of the great women of our times. As a member of the Foundation for Hawaii's Women's History we have made it our goal to nominate Mrs. Mink to the National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls.

We met with her about this in March of this year, and had her approval. She said that she had been nominated in the past, but not accepted. I hope others who have been touched by her work and benefitted from her actions will join with the Foundation to see that we are successful in this nomination.

—Barbara Tavares, Honolulu, Hawaii

I had the privilege of knowing Patsy for many years and of serving with her in the House of Representatives, specifically on the Budget Committee and in the Congressional Women's Caucus.

Patsy was a trailblazer, a fighter for the rights of women and minorities, and a role model for women and people of color everywhere. Long before becoming the first Asian-American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Patsy was breaking barriers—refusing to let society's conventions stand in the way of achieving her goals. When Patsy was told she could not live in regular student housing but had to live at the segregated "International House" for minorities at the University of Nebraska, she successfully lead the effort that changed the university's policies.

When Patsy learned that medical schools were all but closed to women during her time, Patsy enrolled at the University of Chicago law school. When no law firm in her home state of Hawaii would hire her because she was a woman, Patsy opened her own practice and became the first Japanese-American woman lawyer in Hawaii.

After losing her first race for Congress, being a woman of determination and perseverance, Patsy won her second race and, in 1964, became the first Asian-American woman and woman of color elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Patsy Mink will be remembered as a Member of this House who dedicated her career in Congress to opening doors of opportunity for others. For example, Patsy played a key role in the enactment of Title IX—landmark legislation that ensures equal educational opportunities for women and girls in our country.

Patsy will be sorely missed in this House, but she will be fondly remembered as a woman who used her success and talents to tear down barriers and provide fairness and equal opportunities for others, particularly women and minorities. Her hard work, perseverance, and dedication to the principles of equality will serve as an enduring model to us all.

I join with my colleagues and send my sincere condolences to Patsy Mink's family and friends, and to the constituents she represented so well.

—Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), speaking on the House floor, Oct. 1, 2002

My life has been richer because Patsy Mink was in the world. I pray her family is consoled by the fact that so many can say the same. God bless her.

—Helene Henderson, Canby, Minn.

Patsy took a chance on me when I was hired as an intern in her D.C. office. I was a 19-year-old kid playing grown-up and I will fondly remember that summer. Patsy treated me with respect and went out of her way to make that summer memorable for me. That summer, as we went through historical events such as the Capitol guards being shot and President Clinton's grand jury testimony, Patsy sprang into action.

What a tough ol' bird she was. I remember her speaking on the house floor—shouting, actually—as she made clear the stance she was taking on behalf of the people of Hawaii. People from my college in Indiana were even making comments to me about how passionate she was about the issues. And that's how I'll remember her—as a champion for standing up for her beliefs and for the people she loyally served.

—Cyndi Mei Ozaki, Evansville, Ind.

May the Lord bless and protect Patsy's family. May Patsy rest in peace, among the angels. God has blessed us all for allowing us to be so positively affected by her untiring efforts and accomplishments.

—Theresa Scram, Marquette, Mich.

Every time I watch my daughter play volleyball with her college team I am grateful for the efforts of Patsy Mink. We now know the tremendous value of athletics in girls' and womens' lives. Patsy Mink worked to create the environment that opened college sports as an option for so many young women.

—Jessica Schiffman, Wilmington, Del.

In the past three decades of our long, tough struggle to eliminate the poverty of women and children, Representative Patsy Mink was the star among the women in Congress. Her courageous leadership and commitment will go down in history as the model for all women in public service. Her vision broke traditional boundaries and re-energized the continuing struggle for economic justice. My tribute to her is to recommit my time and talents to ending the poverty of women.

—Guida West, Montclair, N.J.

It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of my friend and colleague, Congresswoman Patsy Mink this weekend. I offer my deepest condolences to Patsy's family, her constituents, and the State of Hawaii. Her passing is a loss to us all.

Patsy was a leader on many issues during her 23-year tenure in Congress, and I believe that she truly did do what many, if not all representatives seek to accomplish here in Washington, D.C.—she made a difference.

Patsy was the co-author for Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, which mandated gender equality in education. Thanks to her work, millions of women were afforded greater access to education, school grants and scholarships, and athletic opportunities.

Patsy was also a leader on an issue that is close to my heart, the Freedom of Information Act. In 1971, Patsy filed suit along with 32 other Members of Congress to force disclosure of reports on underground nuclear attacks in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. This case was later cited as precedent by the U.S. Supreme Court in its ruling for the release of the Watergate tapes.

Patsy Mink was also an advocate for the protection and conservation of the natural resources of our nation, and of Hawaii. A former assistant secretary of state for Oceans and International, Environmental and Scientific Affairs, where she helped strengthen protection of whales and regulations of toxic dumping and ocean mining. Patsy brought her advocacy back to Congress with her. In the 107th Congress, she introduced legislation to create the East Maui National Heritage Area, to expand the Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historic Park, and to establish the Kalaupapa National Historic Park. Further, Patsy was involved in the successful effort to reform laws permitting strip mining. It is fitting then that Patsy was a recipient of the Friends of the National Parks Award from the National Parks Conservation Association.

On these, and many other fronts, Patsy was a dedicated and devoted leader and champion. I consider it a privilege to have served with Patsy, and I believe that Congress has lost an important and respected Member.

—Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.), speaking on the House floor, Oct. 3, 2002

I remember the first time I ever saw Patsy Mink speak. It was at a NOW Young Feminist Summit in April 1997 in Washington, DC. I was 25 years old and had been to many conferences, rallies, political gatherings, and meetings—but it was the first time I had ever seen an Asian woman speaker address such a large crowd. She was dynamic and articulate—and she looked kind of like me.

For the first time in my life, I saw an Asian woman leader who was an unapologetic liberal feminist in a position of leadership, standing up and rallying a crowd. Unexpectedly, I found I had tears in my eyes.

While nothing can compensate for her loss, I hope that her loved ones can take some solace in knowing that although I never had the chance to thank her personally, she was an inspiration to me—and I'm sure, to many others.

—Jane Ann Kim, Washington, D.C.

When a mutual friend started to introduce us, Patsy stopped her and said that she knew me. To my surprise, Patsy went on to tell us that she had read some of my guest columns in the Honolulu Star Bulletin. She referred to the one entitled, 'Choosing gay son over the church.' She left me speechless when she cited a couple of lines from the column and told me how she and her husband would catch up on Hawaii news by reading together on occasional Sunday afternoons when they were in D.C. She encouraged me to continue speaking up as a mother of a gay son because others needed to hear my message. She spoke with a gentle passion and deep understanding. Patsy touched my heart and gave me a booster shot in my position as president of the PFLAG-Oahu chapter.

She responded to my plea for help earlier this year after a young gay man was kidnapped, beaten and robbed in his own home on the Big Island. She not only responded but wrote a letter to the Police Chief regarding this hate crime. Patsy went beyond the call to duty. She was a dedicated public servant and a wonderful person who is missed greatly. What a role model!

—Carolyn Martinez Golojuch, Makakilo, Hawaii

Being represented by Patsy Mink has been so satisfying. As a woman in her 60's, I am accustomed to feeling unrepresented, not having a voice for my views. Patsy changed that for me. I could count on her to speak up and voice her views clearly and strongly. It felt so good have my representative speak like that. Only those who are of my age can truly understand what I am saying. Patsy had her values clear, and her voice unafraid. In my day, we were taught to speak quietly and don't make waves. It amazes me to think of the courage she contained, to have been speaking so firmly for so many years.

I had the pleasure of meeting Patsy Mink personally when we were involved in a program together a few years ago. She was a physically small person, but I knew immediately that she was invincible. Her strength of mind and concern for rural issues was crystal clear. Her commitment to her constituents was palpable. I will miss her presence and sure voice immensely.

—Annette Cassidy, Calistoga, Calif.

As a male, I have read some of the tributes to Patsy Mink and have been deeply touched by the many women from all walks of life that have been inspired by her boundless energy and great intelligence in her fight for gender equality.

Sadly, it takes such a sad event as her passing for many to realize how much she meant to millions of people living in poverty, suffering racial bias and discrimination in education and athletics. Patsy seemed so indestructible, that she should be taken away so prematurely is a tragedy of the greatest magnitude not only for women but for families all over America.

She was the unquestioned leader and role model for Asian women to emulate and was respected and loved by all women of all races who knew of her unwavering commitment for a better America.

Of a sudden, the world seems less bright today because she is gone but her legacy lives on forever. My sympathy to John and Gwen.

Donald Shishido, Pearl City, Hawaii

I offer my heartfelt condolences to Patsy Mink's family. I know that you will miss her every day, as will those of us in Congress who were lucky enough to consider her a mentor and a friend.

By her work and by her example, Patsy Mink redefined what is possible for a generation of women and for our daughters. She was the driving force behind Title IX, which mandated gender equality in education. She gave strength to the powerless and voice to the voiceless, and her legacy of justice and equality lives on in classrooms and playing fields around this great nation.

—Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Having been born and raised in Hawai'i, I always admired Patsy Mink's strength and courage as one of our two representatives. As a Japanese-American woman, I saw Rep. Mink as a model for what I too could accomplish for the benefit of so many people. Mahalo, Rep. Mink, for all of your efforts on behalf of women everywhere and for your commitment to the people of Hawai'i.

—Kristine Yamaki, Pearl City, Hawaii

From what I learned, Patsy Mink was an outstanding member of Congress. I sincerely hope that something can be done to prevent her being replaced by an old-fashioned conservative who would destroy everything she fought and stood for, and also support President Bush's war-mongering. Her legacy should not die with her, and hopefully, Hawaii has an efficient NOW chapter which can help with that.

—Thomas Hofer, Chalmette, La.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

On behalf of the clients and staff of the National Center on Poverty Law

—Wendy Pollack, Chicago, Ill.

I was indeed saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Congresswoman Patsy Mink. Congresswoman Mink paved the way for women of color and women in general with her stellar 24 years of service in the House. She was a tireless worker for health, education, social services and all issues of importance to poor and working poor families. We will miss her for she never shied from a fight if the cause was just and always lent her vice tothose who were too powerless to be heard.

—Congresswoman Donna M. Christensen

Women's Campaign Fund has supported Patsy Mink for many years. She supported our cause - choice, and she did it with style and consistency. We loved her, we will miss her, and we will remember her.

—Susan Medalie, Washington, D.C.

It is an honor to join with NOW to pay tribute to Congresswoman Patsy Mink. As a Congressional staffer, I had the privilege of seeing first hand Congresswoman Mink's dedication and commitment to the issues facing women and their families.

In Congresswoman Mink, America's women found an outspoken champion. Most recently, Congresswoman Mink led the progressive effort to reform welfare, to ensure that women received the education and job training that would truly move them not just from welfare to work, but from welfare to self-sufficiency.

By using the full force of her intelligence and commitment to co-author and pass Title IX, she has left us a lasting legacy. It was very fitting that Sunday, I spent my afternoon playing in a Women's Basketball League. Before the tip-off, I thought about Ms. Mink, and with tears in my eyes, I had to smile. If it weren't for Patsy, I probably wouldn't have been on that court. As a young woman involved in politics, Congresswoman Mink's success opened the doors for all of us to expand our personal endeavors. I am truly thankful for her leadership and her devotion, and I will miss seeing her smiling face on Capitol Hill.

—Melissa Shannon, Washington, D.C.

From the time Congresswoman Mink took on Senator Humphrey's hopelessly sexist physician, Dr. Berman, I have loved Patsy Mink! She always stood up for poor women and was effective in securing better educational benefits for single moms stuck in the welfare system. Too many feminists take the "practical" road and don't "muddy the waters" of feminist politics by demanding better funding for "unpopular" programs like welfare/AFDC/TANF.

Patsy Mink, NOW and hundreds of Women's Studies professors did stand up for poor women in the welfare debate in 1996, but Newt Gingrich and his hatchet men succeeded in eliminating the one Social Security Program of the historic first six programs — Aid to Dependent Children — that most directly effects women. Make no mistake: that successful hatchet job paved the way for an ongoing effort to reduce other Social Security Programs: Unemployment Compensation, Workman's Compensation, Aid to the Blind, Aid to Handicapped Children, and Old Age Assistance.

I heard Congresswoman Mink in person a few years ago when she addressed the bi-annual conference of the Institute for Women's Policy Research. She was inspiring, energetic and intelligent! I fell in love again with this hero of mine. I will miss her.

—Mary C. Pruitt, Minneapolis, Minn.

I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of the great Patsy Mink — a woman whose impact on my life I may never fully know. I hadn't been born when Title IX was passed in 1972, but I have reaped the benefits of it my whole life. From playing sports throughout my scholastic career, to now flourishing in a male-dominated work environment, I am thankful that Patsy was there to champion the rights of and clear the way for so many successful women. I send out all of my prayers and a deep, loving gratitude to Ms. Mink's family, that they shared such a wonderful person with the rest of us.

—Kimberly Arnold, Mendon, Mass.

Patsy Mink's passing will leave a big hole in Congress that will be very hard to fill.

I used to work on the oversight committee in the House of Representatives, and one day Patsy Mink took over the chair while the Chairman was unavailable. I remember how impressive she was—it was a very complicated oversight hearing and she stepped right in as if she had been working on the issue for months.

I thank her from my heart for her dedication to helping all women, and especially the most vulnerable. She was a real champion for them.

—Diana Zuckerman, Washington, D.C.

Patsy Mink stood for justice for all those for whom it does not come without a struggle—women, children, people of color, and the poor. She could be counted on to hold the nation to the highest standards. She worked to bring people of conscience together through her leadership in Congress and of Americans for Democratic Action. Congresswoman Mink's voice and passion for justice will be sorely missed. In her memory, we should double and triple our efforts to lift Americans out of poverty—that was Patsy Mink's work, and it must be continued.

—Deborah Weinstein, Washington, D.C.

A woman, a leader, a change agent, a visionary, a great example of how to live each day making the world what it should be. In this time when we constantly are talking about heroes, it is hard for the earth to lose this one.

—Lissa K. McLean, McLean, Va.

Women have lost a stalwart champion with the death of Patsy Mink! And it is not just women, the entire nation has lost a true patriot—one who understood that patriotism was best embodied in democratic ideals and support for justice!

—Sammie Moshenberg, Washington, D.C.

Women everywhere will miss Patsy Mink but especially those of us who have tried to break down barriers that stereotype women as weak and incapable of performing physically demanding tasks. The only tribute that would truly honor Patsy would be for Congress and other governmental bodies to redouble their efforts to remove the stereotypes and artificial barriers that restrict women's opportunities.

RIP Patsy.

—Captain Brenda Berkman, FDNY, Brooklyn, New York

Patsy Mink was an extraordinary human being, a steadfast defender of girls and women's rights, a compassionate teller of tales of discrimination perpetrated against her and others. She was, like the Hawaiian orchids she wore and gave out, a rare human being. Always committed to liberal causes, she was a former President of Americans for Democratic Action, always pledged to support girls and women, she was a habitual collaborator with women's organizations, always proud of her heritage and her principles, she wore them like a badge of honor to inspire others. When her spirits were flagging because of the inertia in the Congress, she always sprung up with a new idea, a new bill on welfare reform, a challenge to those who would tamper with Title IX, an enduring commitment to diversity well documented in her collaboration on with the Hispanic Caucus, the Asian Pacific Caucus and others.

Patsy, you will be missed but I am sure Gwendolyn and John will keep supporting the causes and ideals you stood up for time and again. I was very proud to call you my friend.

—Carmen Delgado Votaw, Washington, D.C.

Without Rep. Mink's tireless efforts on behalf of women and girls, I would not be where I am today, a grad student in D.C. Her successes have positively affected the lives of my fellow students, even if they don't know it. We lost a champion for women, we've lost a grandmother, we've lost a wonderful person...I send blessings to her family on this day...I pray Patsy Mink's legacy of Title IX will survive this administration.

—Anita Sachariah, Alexandria, Va.

Let's not forget that Patsy was also a great environmentalist. When I was the Deputy Administrator of EPA during the Carter years, she was Assistant Secretary of State for the Environment. We had lunch once a month to plan our nation's international environmental activities. She was a fine environmentalist—creative and courageous and supportive. I missed her when she left State and untold thousands of us, feminists, environmental activists and protectors of all human rights, will miss her now.

—Barbara Davis Blum, Washington, D.C.

It was my pleasure to work with Representative Mink after she introduced her wonderful welfare bill. We supported her and that bill as long as we could and still do. She told us she proposed not just what was "politically" feasible but what was the right thing to do. She said, "Since when do we do something so important as this just because it will please certain politicians?" She was a woman of high principle who did the right thing.

It was an honor to be in her presence. May she rest in peace.

—Sister Mary Elizabeth Clark, SSJ, Washington, D.C.

In 1991, I contacted Rep. Mink's office about an ovarian cancer research bill that I had heard she was sponsoring.

The staffer responsible for queries regarding the fledgling bill was very helpful to this non-constituent, a cancer researcher and physician anxious to see attention drawn to a then underserved disease.

The bill eventually became reality. Rep. Mink worked hard for her constituents, but also for women across the country.

—Nancy Phillips, St. Louis, Mo.

Bravo for a life well lived! I can only aspire to such truth of heart and courage. She will be missed.

—Laurel B. Jensen, Alexandria, Va.

Patsy Mink has been one of my heroes most of my adult life. It was a thrill for me to finally meet her this summer, to shake her hand and tell her "thank you" in person. It's hard for me to believe she's gone.

She's not gone. She will never be gone, not as long as there are those who still have this debt of gratitude to pay. We will continue her work. We will tell our children and grandchildren about the things she accomplished for us. We will encourage them to continue her work. She will never die.

That's a promise. This debt of gratitude will never be paid, but we're going to try.

—Janet Detter Margul, Plano, Texas

As the founder of the Women's Campaign Fund, I have had the privilege of admiring Patsy Mink's work for many years.

In 1995 when I was representing Bella Abzug's WEDO (Women's Environment and Development Organization) in Washington, I was taking Bella to a League of Women Voters meeting in the Rayburn House Office Building where she was to be the keynote speaker. Suddenly Bella disappeared. I looked everywhere, worried that she had fallen, or worse. Suddenly she reappeared, eyes twinkling. "I just had to go say hi to my dearest friend, Patsy, one of the finest women ever in politics." Bella died within two years. With Patsy Mink's death we now have lost another of the greatest woman leaders in the history of the country.

—Anne B. Zill, Freeport, Me.

I was saddened by the news of Congresswoman Mink's passing. I suppose I didn't want to accept that one so strong of will and moral character could fall to this virus. As the first minority woman to be elected to the House of Representatives, she has been, and will remain to be a true role-model for women of all ages, races, and ethnicities. With an "Aloha Spirit" I wish her well in the next life. May we all hold true to her memory and make the most of our lives. God bless you and keep you.

—Brenda J. Baker, San Pedro, Calif.

I was blessed to hear Patsy speak at the National NOW Conference at St. Paul, Minn. in June, 2002. Her talk was inspirational and moving. It truly saddens me that such a great proponent of women's rights has been taken so prematurely. If I am as saddened as I feel, I can only imagine how her family and close friends feel. I'm certain her legacy will live on and whenever I see a woman compete in sports, I will think of Patsy Mink. When I see the election of our first woman president, I will think of Patsy Mink.

—Suzy Colt, Barrington, N.H.

Representative Patsy Mink's other achievements in Congress will to me always be overshadowed by the dramatic difference she made in the lives of women and girls through passage of Title IX. Probably that's because when I was seeking admission, law schools were still not required to extend equal opportunity to female applicants and students. But it is Patsy Mink the woman—a warm, smiling, passionate, committed feminist sister—who inspires me and remains in my heart.

—Patricia Ireland, Rosslyn, Va.

I am sad to see one as young and productive as Patsy Mink leave this world. She is gone because God don't want no junk. He called her because she made her place and mark on the earth and is now needed for a far greater mission.

Patsy made a difference with opportunity in the lives of many young women that will carry throughout the lives of each and then some. Therefore her memory and accomplishments live on through the opportunities given these women. Her memory cannot fade from us now. She began to make a difference in H.R. 5447 ~ The Tyler-Bender Mandatory Discharge Act. Hopefully her successor will be as open to equal opportunity for all. May she rest in peace. My prayers are with her family at this time of great sorrow.

—Carolyn Tyler, Greenfield, Wis.

I was shocked and saddened to hear that Patsy Mink passed away. My friends and I were moved by her inspiring speech at the 2002 NOW conference. She was a champion for fairness in education and an advocate for poor families. She will be missed.

—Shahla Werner, Madison, Wis.

Patsy Mink's passage of Title IX has had a most, if not the most, profound impact on reordering American life and the effect on young boys and girls—and ultimately young men and women in our society. I had for many years viewed the issue I work on—reproductive rights—and the 1973 Supreme Court decisions as being fundamental, while of immense importance, Title IX has reordered how young women view themselves and how young men accept and respect that change. Bless her wisdom and dedication and I mourn her passing.

—Jeri Rasmussen, Shoreview, Minn.

I found Rep. Patsy Mink to be a heroine to all women as she dealt with racism and sexism in her daily life. Her entry into public life was a great blessing to all of us. We need more politicians like her to represent the U.S. people.

—Susan Straus, Chicago, Ill.

Rep. Mink's words at the NOW convention in June touched me as few ever have. She spoke of her principles with such compassion and warmth and she lived them every day. I feel privileged to have met her and will remember her always.

—Dianne Maughan, Mountainair, N.M.

Please accept my deepest sympathy for your awful loss. My wife and I are in our 60s now and we raised two daughters—all of us deeply in her debt for her pioneering work in gender equity issues and in ending the Vietnam War. We have relatives who live in Hawaii and I know they are devastated by her sudden passing, too.

—Burnis E. (Gene) Tuck, Fresno, Calif.

I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of the great Patsy Mink—a woman whose impact on my life I may never fully know. I hadn't been born when Title IX was passed in 1972, but I have reaped the benefits of it my whole life. From playing sports throughout my scholastic career, to now flourishing in a male-dominated work environment, I am thankful that Patsy was there to champion the rights of and clear the way for so many successful women. I send out all of my prayers and a deep, loving gratitude to Ms. Mink's family, that they shared such a wonderful person with the rest of us.

—Kimberly Arnold, Mendon, Mass.

Thank you for all your work to achieve equality for women and girls. We will miss you but will never forget you!

—Olga Vives, Alexandria, Va.

Dear Family Members,

I know our grief cannot touch yours at Patsy's death. Please know she touched many lives -- including people she never met. I am a member of one of the first generations to grow up with Title IX, and I am grateful to Patsy for the work she did on behalf of women and girls. Her work had a direct impact on my life and my choices growing up.

I also know there was a great deal of other work that was part of Patsy's life, for which many of us are grateful, and that her political career is but one aspect of the woman you know and love.

—Stasa Morgan-Appel, Philadelphia, Pa.

In memory of the brilliant Representative Patsy Mink: Thanks to all of her wonderful work and determination, she improved the lives of countless women and girls around our country. Her work, morals, and efforts in Congress will be hard to replace and will be missed. May she rest in peace and smile down on the brighter future for women that is sure to come thanks to her efforts.

—Laura Kramer, a high school student in St. Paul, Minn.

"We have a lot of work to do." Those were U.S. Representative Patsy Mink's (D-Hawaii) words to me after I addressed the banquet of the International Association of Korean Lawyers meeting in Honolulu in August. Now, barely two months later, Mrs. Mink has passed away and her work remains our work.

Patsy Mink was a trailblazer not solely for women or Asian Americans but for all of those who work for a just society. High school valedictorian and university graduate in Chemistry, she saw the doors to a medical career shut simply because she was a woman. Undaunted, she switched career paths and graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1951, one of the first women and Asian Americans to do so. That law firms saw her as legal secretary material and not as a potential associate or partner only made her more determined.

For the next 50 years, Patsy Mink could be found at the crossroads of change. A leader in the Young Democrats and Americans for Democratic Action (an organization she would later head as national president), she worked with dynamic young dreamers and activists like Phillip Burton and Alan Cranston. In the historic decade of the 1950s when Hawaii attained statehood, she was among those at the forefront in the Territorial Legislature and State Senate.

In the turbulent 1960s, Patsy Mink took a strong stand against the Vietnam War. Elected to Congress in 1964, she was first minority woman to serve in the House of Representatives. It did not matter that her home state had a large military vote. She felt so strongly about our Vietnam involvement that she entered the 1972 Oregon presidential primary on just one platform plank—opposing the war in Southeast Asia.

Her greatest legislative legacy can be seen on fields and arenas in every corner of America. Patsy Mink was the co-author of the law known to college women and athletic girls everywhere as Title IX. For the first time, colleges and schools were required to devote funding to women's and girl's sports. The leadership and team-building opportunities, the accolades and financial support previously reserved for men's and boys' athletic teams were opened to all. Patsy Mink made it truly a level playing field for young girls and women who would become our nation's champions at the Olympics and leaders in communities across the country.

I will remember Patsy Mink best for two things. First was her historic walk across the U.S. Capitol from the House side to the Senate Russell Caucus Room in 1991 during the Clarence Thomas hearings. Along with Barbara Boxer, Patricia Schroeder and other women leaders of the House of Representatives, she stood silently but strongly at the back of the hearing room facing the all-male Senate Judiciary Committee in support of Anita Hill. Second was her unfailing and generous support of the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL), an organization devoted to training Asian American students and young professionals for public interest and community service careers. She inspired countless CAPAL students and the next generation of Asian American leaders.

When we last talked in August, she expressed strong concern over the Administration's military and immigration policies. And she was optimistic about her party's chances of taking back control of the House of Representatives in the November election and making progress on the many challenges that face the nation.

Now, Patsy Mink is not with us. Yes, we have a lot of work to do.

—John Trasviña, San Francisco, Calif.

I met Patsy Mink in the summer of 1971, when I was just out of college and visiting a friend in Washington, Laura, who was fortunate to be working in Ms. Mink's Capitol Hill office for the summer, and who invited me to a party of young staffers at the Mink home.

I was already inspired by her work, especially on behalf of the rights of girls and women, which had been brought to my attention by my family in Maryland who had lived in Hawaii during and after WWII, and maintained a fondness for and interest in things Hawaiian. So it was a thrill to meet her, to understand that the new women's movement already had champions in Congress, and to see what a wonderful community of young energetic staffers she had attracted and was mentoring.

I had expected a distant presence moving swiftly through and out of the room leaving us to ourselves, but she was completely gracious and really interested in this crowd of youngsters. This visit played a role in my growing awareness of NOW and the National Women's Political Caucus. Soon after I helped to found the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus, continued supporting women for public office in Massachusetts, and never looked back.

She was truly a pioneer in those early days, and her magnificent combination of composure and never-say-die were an education for more than one male legislator, as they began to get the idea that women were taking our places in the process. The story of the mountain of work she accomplished will come to us as an amazing story in her inevitable biography, let's hope it's before too long. We have all lost a national treasure, and my heart goes out to you. I join you in celebrating her splendid life.

—Jacqueline Fralley, Silver Spring, Md.

Unwavering in her fight for equality, staunch in her ideals, a role model for a democratic society at its most worthy. These phrases have been often repeated in describing the Patsy Mink who women of all races have much respect and honor for. I will show my allegiance one last time, by casting my vote as I have done every time in the past for Patsy Mink and remembering the respect that she demanded for women of all ages-for the ages.

Aloha Pumehana~

—Dede Sutherland, Wahiawa, Hawaii

Patsy was a tireless fighter for public schools. She believed that the only way we could build up our nation was to teach the children, so she went about making a better, stronger nation one child at a time.

She leaves a big void in our community, but we are heartened knowing that her legacy will live on forever in our children.

—Danielle Lum, Honolulu, Hawaii

Congresswoman Mink was an amazing advocate for women and girls during her years in Congress and beyond. Working with her on the issue of welfare, I saw firsthand her tireless devotion to improving the lives of others, and not giving up until the best possible outcome was achieved. Patsy Mink was an inspiration to all of us, and we will never forget her.

—Bulbul Gupta, Trumbull, Conn.

I met Patsy Mink when she first came to Congress and I was working with Bella Abzug. Over the years, Bella loved and respected Patsy as did we all. She remained a committed leader and a role model for women everywhere. I am doubly saddened to know that we have not only lost a remarkable woman, but we've lost a touchstone who reminded Congress of their responsibility to our neediest and their sisters and mothers. I will miss her leadership, her energy, her intellect and her smile. My best to her daughter and all the family.

With loving respect,

—Martha Baker, Fresh Meadows, N.Y.

Patsy Mink labored in love to assist all groups of people. She will be remembered for her perseverance and sincerity in all her endeavors. Thanks to her tireless efforts, we have Title IX and we have much leadership in gender equity. It is an honor to have met Patsy Mink, and to have seen her come all the way back to Hawaii in July of 1997 in order to address the many attendees at the NCSEE (National Coalition for Sex Equity in Education) Conference attendees about educational equity issues before the Congress. Thank you to dear Patsy Mink. You were a wonderful role model, woman, and leader in our great nation. You will be dearly remembered by many!

—Mary E. Switzer, Ewing, N.J.

What a great loss for us all to lose Patsy Mink so suddenly. We will all have to work a little harder now to help fill her shoes, but in thinking about what she accomplished, we will be inspired to do just that.

—Catherine Briggs, MD, Calif.

This is a terrible loss , especially for women! The Veteran Feminists of America planned to honor her this Nov. 8 and 9 at our 30th anniversary celebration of Title IX in Baltimore—I'd been in contact with her offices and it seemed she just might be well and able to attend our event.

VFA will honor her posthumously—and dedicate the event to her, along with Ann London Scott and Pauli Murray, two fallen soldiers of the cause of equality for women. Our sympathy goes out to Patsy's family, to Hawaii, the Congress of the U.S. and to women and men all over.

—Jacqui Ceballos, Lafayette, La.

Patsy Mink was a woman of great courage and strong convictions. Her death is a great loss to us all—to the women and girls, particularly those in greatest need, for whom she never stopped fighting. As I came to know her over the last eight years in connection with welfare "reform," I knew she could always be counted on to lead the fight for social and economic justice, even when it was not popular to do so. She will be missed, but the greatest tribute we can offer her is to continue her valiant efforts on behalf poor women and their children.

—Ruth A. Brandwein, Ph.D., Stony Brook, N.Y.

The world has lost yet another compassionate leader, advocate and visionary who worked not only on behalf of women and girls, but also the impoverished laborer, the destitute and the disenfranchised. I only hope that those inspired by her work and dedication will honor her memory and pick up the torch she has left behind.

—Ming Pham, Arlington, Va.

Patsy Mink's devotion to the advancment of women and girls is unmatched. Her contribution and commitment cannot be overstated. Patsy's accomplishment of enacting Title 9 into law has changed the lives of tens of millions of Americans.

—Nancy Zirkin, Washington, D.C.

To a great lady of human rights—may we honor your work and spirit by making sure that the current administration does not dismantle or lessen the strength of Title IX. You will be missed but never forgotten.

—Brenda Lea Mayberry, Manhattan, Ks.

It was a wonderful experience meeting you early Sunday morning during the National NOW Conference in Minnesota this year. Your work for women and Title IX will never be forgotten. You are a true hero for young women.

—Joanne Sterner, Pompano Beach, Fla.

Know that in your name and in your spirit the work of making this an equitable and just world for women and girls will go on. We are producing a conference entitled "Women as Peacemakers" to embolden women to speak out in the name of Peace. You will be remembered at that conference with honor and gratitude for your untiring devotion to the women of the world. For myself, my daughters, my granddaughters, all women—thank you!!!

—Louise Sheehy, Winter Park, Fla.

I am deeply saddened about the loss of one of America's greatest heroines. I had the pleasure 10 years ago of interning at Rep. Mink's Honolulu congressional office. Her steadfastness, diligence and drive for making a positive difference in people's lives have inspired many women, including me, to aspire to achieve whatever passions they have. Mrs. Mink has served the people of Hawaii and this great country faithfully. She will always be remembered and cherished in our hearts. Many love and prayers go out to the Mink family.

—Georgina Kwan, Honolulu, Hawaii

You have truly been a leader in helping all women to advance out of the shadows and into the light. It was your wonderful determination which helped advance the cause of all women in every field of endeavor and need. Your life will be an inspiration to women coming into the struggle for full rights today.

Rest in peace, you have earned it. We shall miss you.

—Estelle Katz, New York, N.Y.

As a young woman studying politics and women's issues, I have long admired and respected Ms. Mink. I, as well as countless other women of my generation, owe so much to Ms. Mink and other brave, intelligent, and determined women like her. I want to say thank you for all she has done to further my rights as a woman, most of all my right to receive an equal education to that of my male peers. Ms. Mink's life made mine, and so many other women's, better. I just hope that the rights that Ms. Mink fought to give my generation allow us to do the same for others.

—Angela Postal, St. Louis, Mo.

I can't tell you how much Patsy Mink's work has meant to me, as a new college student and woman who spent all her life in public schools, and benefitted from her work. This is truly one of the great milestones in the history of feminism, and it is one that I am very proud to keep alive.

—Rebecca Pedinoff, Berkeley, Calif.

I want to thank Patsy Mink for all the work she has done to provide equality for our daughters and sisters and selves. She was tireless in Washington in her efforts to protect our freedoms. I will vote for her and encourage everyone so that her visions and works may continue. I realize that by voting for Ms. Mink I will give a person with similar values a chance to take her chair in D.C.

It's certainly no fun living in Washington D.C. I know Ms. Mink made plenty of personal sacrifices to insure our freedoms. To her family, what an honor to know her and be a part of her. I'm sure her greatness lives on in you, too. Great people have a way of bringing out the best in those around them. I hope there will be a Celebration of her Life on Maui.

With aloha and heartfelt compassion,

—Rena Blumberg, Kihei, Hawaii

All women and girls owe their well-being to the great Stateswoman, Patsy Mink. We will be forever grateful and she will remain in the realm of our holy Foremothers for infinity. Women have a long past but a short history. Patsy Mink sits high in the struggle for equality. May the Great Goddess bless the Mink family and the women of the world for whom Patsy fought so hard.

—Linda Mancillas Patterson, Washington, D.C.

The women of the world have lost a great leader and friend. I never had the opportunity to meet Patsy Mink, but I always felt my best interests were safely under her watch. It can honestly be said that the planet is a better place because of Patsy Mink. What more can any of us hope to leave behind? My love goes out to her family. I can't even imagine how much they must miss her.

—Sue Weill, San Marcos, Texas

Patsy fought this disease of viral pneumonia with the same tenacity that was her trademark in fighting for the rights of all who were being attacked by society and unfair life situations!

I arrived in Hawaii in 1954 as an adult women of the same approximate age as Patsy. Those were the years of fighting for statehood and taxation without representation in Congress with only a non-voting Delegate and an appointed Governor. Patsy fought for the same things as I and the majority of women of the time—equal rights for women—and all who were treated unfairly!

No matter what her position, what level of government at state or national level, she served with courage and intelligence not attributable to many of our government and political figures of today. She was an outstanding asset to our state and the nation. I will always hold Patsy in my heart as the brave intelligent leader who stood up, spoke out and was heard!

Patsy, Hawaii salutes you! Hopefully, there will be someone sometime, who will speak out and act as she did.

—Ruth Dias Willenborg, Kailu, Hawaii

In Memoriam: Patsy Mink

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