A wonderful documentary on the late Congresswoman Patsy Takemoto Mink of Hawai’i shows Wednesday, March 18, as part of the 2009 San Francisco Asian American Film Festival. The showing starts with Tadashi Nakamura’s “A Song for Ourselves,” a documentary on pioneering singer and activist Chris Iijima.
The showing starts at 6:45 p.m. at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas on Post St. and Fillmore St. in San Francisco. An 8 p.m. reception at Hotel Kabuki’s O Izakaya Lounge follows the films. The filmmaker Kim Bassford will be at the reception as well as Patsy’s daughter Wendy.
PATSY MINK: AHEAD OF THE MAJORITY (http://www.aheadofthemajority.com) explores the remarkable political story of Patsy Mink, an Asian American woman who, battling racism and sexism, redefined American politics.
Small in stature but a giant in vision, she began her life on a Maui sugar plantation and rose to become the first Asian American woman and woman of color in the United States Congress. A firecracker and a fighter, she continually pushed the limits of what was acceptable, speaking out against the Vietnam War and entering the 1972 presidential primary, making her one of the first women to seek the nation’s highest office. She transformed America’s schools as the co-author of Title IX, the landmark legislation that opened up higher education and athletics to women.
The film goes beyond Mink’s accomplishments, however, to reveal a woman whose political journey was lonely and tumultuous. Dispelling stereotypes of the compliant Japanese female, she battled sexism within her own party, whose leaders disliked her independent style and openly maneuvered against her. Her liberal politics, particularly her vocal opposition to the Vietnam War, engendered intense criticism.
As Franklin Odo, Director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program, states: “Patsy Mink offers a phenomenal political story, because she was so outside what you would expect of a woman, of a Japanese American and of a member of Congress.” Simultaneously a woman of the people and a pioneer, a patriot and an outcast, her story proves endlessly intriguing, and one that embodies the history, ideals and spirit of America.