Statue of Patsy Mink dedicated on Oahu

A bronze statue of Maui-born Patsy Mink was dedicated Thursday at the Hawaii State Public Library on Oahu. State Foundation on Culture and the Arts photo

The Maui News

A life-sized bronze sculpture of Patsy Mink, who grew up on Maui, was dedicated Thursday at the Hawaii State Public Library on Oahu on what would have been her 91st birthday.

Mink, a Maui High School graduate, served as a U.S. House member and co-authored Title IX, which protects people from sexual discrimination in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. The measure has since been renamed the “Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act.”

On Nov. 24, 2014, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Mink the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

A champion of civil and women’s rights, Mink was the first Asian-American woman to practice law in Hawaii and the first Asian-American woman elected to the U.S. Congress.

The sculpture was created by Holly Young and funded through the Art in Public Places Program of the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.

With the statue, Mink is shown standing and speaking with outstretched arms, symbolizing her love and engagement of Hawaii’s community, a foundation news release said. The statue is located in a seating area near the Hawaii State Public Library, where Mink spent much of her early career reading to her daughter, Wendy Mink. Throughout the seating area are plaques containing quotes from Patsy Mink.

Young, a Big Island resident, chose an education in chemistry and philosophy from Dartmouth College, St. John’s College, and Cornell University for a professional career providing chemistry consultation and research. During her late 30s, she felt compelled to explore her lifelong attraction to art. Young’s sculptures may be found in public and private collections throughout Hawaii and around the world.

Both the Queen Kapi’olani monument at Queen Kapi’olani Regional Park and Makua and Kila fountain at Kuhio Beach were commissioned by the City and County of Honolulu.

Kahu Kenneth Makuakane, senior pastor at Kawaiaha’o Church, performed the oli and blessing, and Aaron Kagawa, grand-nephew of Mink, offered closing remarks. Wendy Mink was involved in the lei-draping of the statue.