A Family Gathering and the Presidential Medal of Freedom Ceremony

December 8, 2015

As you all know, Minoru Yasui received a posthumous Medal of Freedom from President Obama; the White House ceremony was held on Tuesday, November 23. We have received hundreds of emails from well-wishers, press releases and media inquiries. The news coverage was excellent. We were contacted by the BBC, Asahi Shimbun, the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, NBC News, NPR and the story went on the wires through the Associated Press.  In particular, the piece done by Rachel Maddow on NBC News was really wonderful … if you haven’t already seen it, please see:

 

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watch/minoru-yasui--historic-hero-for-our-times-573023299609

 

My uncle Homer and aunt Yuka, Min Yasui’s youngest brother now aged 91 and 88, his last surviving siblings (called nisei – second generation, offspring of Japanese immigrants, issei), attended the ceremony at the White House along with my sister Laurie Yasui (who accepted the Medal on behalf of our father), her two daughters, Serena and Chani, our cousin Robin Yasui, and myself. We’ve posted the President’s speech about Min Yasui and the actual presentation of the Medal to Laurie in this website:

 

http://www.minoruyasuifilm.org/#!An-Excerpt-from-the-Presidential-Medal-of-Freedom-Award-Ceremony/c1thz/5658d9a80cf277f55b30eafd

 

After the ceremony, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving with relatives that came from all corners of the U.S. (and me, from Mexico) – over 30 in all. My dad had 8 brothers and sisters, of whom 6 had families of their own, and now my generation, called sansei has children (yonsei) and grandchildren (gosei). Much to be thankful for!

 

I then flew to Los Angeles to shoot what I hope will be the last interviews for the film – with two men who worked with Min Yasui in the redress movement, to which he dedicated himself heart and soul during the last years of his life.

 

And now, the fundraising drive continues. If you haven’t donated yet, please do so soon in able to get a tax-deduction for 2015!

 

As of December 2, our one-month mark, we had 75 donors and a total of $19,960. We hope that the Medal of Freedom will give us the boost that we need to get closer to our goal of $50,000.

 

Because of the large budget shortfall, co-director Will Doolittle and I have decided to aim for a 30-minute work-in-progress for the April 23, 2016 symposium in Portland. We need to spend more time extending our fundraising activities … instead of getting back to the creative work of making of the film.

 

We will continue to raise funds in 2016 in order to complete the hour-long documentary for the October 19, 2016 Centennial Celebration in Hood River, Oregon, Min Yasui’s hometown. So please tell your family and friends about our film, send them to our website www.minoruyasuifilm.org to learn more about Min Yasui, and ask them to join you in supporting our efforts to create a film worthy of a great American hero.

 

Thank you,

 

Holly Yasui 

 

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