OAPABA is pleased to announce that Minoru Yasui, a native of Hood River, Oregon, the first Japanese-American graduate of the University of Oregon School of Law, and the first Japanese-American member of the Oregon State Bar, has been posthumously awarded a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom! Mr. Yasui is perhaps best known for his heroic challenge of the discriminatory wartime restrictions targeting Japanese-Americans and Japanese nationals during World War II, a fight that placed him in solitary confinement for nine months while his case was appealed to the United States Supreme Court. Although the Supreme Court ultimately ruled against his appeal, he continued to fight for the civil rights of all individuals, regardless of race, nationality, or ethnicity until he passed away in 1986. OAPABA and OMLA were proud to submit a joint endorsement letter on behalf of Mr. Yasui. A link to the White House press release is located here .
From November 5-8, 2015, twenty OAPABA members attended the 2015 NAPABA Convention in New Orleans: NAPABA Rising. It was a record attendance by OAPABA members for a NAPABA Convention. The Convention was attended by approximately 1,600 Asian Pacific American (APA) attorneys, judges, law students, legal scholars, and elected officials from around the country.
At the 27th Anniversary Gala, Alexis Shimada from Willamette University College of Law was inducted as president of the student chapter, NAPALSA. Willamette University College of Law student, Melissa Cohen, was also inducted as the 2016 Pacific Northwest regional director for NAPALSA. Congratulations to our OAPABA student members and for WUCL APALSA’s continued leadership with NAPALSA!
More pictures can be found on OAPABA’s Facebook page!
On October 30, 2015, OAPABA held its third annual Gala Dinner at the Sentinel Hotel in Portland. Over 180 people attended. Justice Mary Yu of the Washington Supreme Court was the keynote speaker. Justice Yu is the first Latina, first Asian, and first openly gay justice on that court. Bollywood Dreams Entertainment provided a pre-dinner interactive performance.
At the dinner, OAPABA awarded Julia Markley with the Judge Lynn R. Nakamoto Award. Julia, a litigation partner in the Portland, Oregon office of Perkins Coie LLP, is a founding member of OAPABA. Julia served as OAPABA’s first President, and her leadership was integral to OAPABA’s growth in its formative years. The Judge Lynn R. Nakamoto Award honors leaders who have demonstrated leadership, professionalism, mentorship and commitment to the promotion of APAs in the Oregon legal community. Julia’s sterling record of service to Oregon’s APA lawyers, as well as the Oregon APA community as a whole, makes her an ideal choice to receive this award.
OAPABA thanks its sponsors and all attendees for making the dinner a great success! We hope to see you again next year on September 22, 2016, at the Sentinel.