Holly Yasui, filmmaker and social justice advocate, dies

Japanese American organizations, including the Japanese American National Museum, mourned the passing of Holly Yasui, ?a writer, editor, and documentary filmmaker. She died Oct. 31, 2021 in Mexico from complications of COVID-19 and was the youngest daughter of Minoru Yasui, the legendary Japanese American lawyer and civil rights activist.? Yasui was 68.

Tsuru for Solidarity, ?a volunteer-run non-violent direct action group of Japanese Americans dedicated to closing the camps,? issued a statement sharing remembrances of Yasui. The group also shared a ?self-written biography? she shared with them in 2019.

Yasui described herself at the time as a ?Sansei descendant of prisoners of the Minidoka and Amache WRA camps, also of DoJ detention centers including Fort Missoula, Fort Sill, Camp Livingston and Santa Fe. Since 1993, Holly has lived in Mexico where she worked for various educational and community development organizations and was an international human rights observer in the Zapatista Campamentos por la Paz (Peace Camps). Her father was one of the three Japanese American litigants who challenged military orders at the U.S. Supreme Court during World War II, and she has signed on to various amicus briefs filed since 9/11 by the coram nobis team on racial profiling, discriminatory surveillance, guilt by association and the Muslim Ban. She is co-founder of the Minoru Yasui Legacy Project based in Portland, OR and co-director and executive producer of the documentary film ?Never Give Up! Minoru Yasui and the Fight for Justice.??

During World War II, after President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which led to the mass incarceration of some 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry ? more than two-thirds of them U.S. citizens ? in concentration camps.

?Minoru Yasui ? initiated the first legal test of the order. He spent nine months in solitary confinement awaiting his appeal to the US Supreme Court, but ultimately lost the appeal and was sent to Minidoka concentration camp in Idaho,? the museum said.
According to the museum, Yasui’s survivors include her sisters, Laurie Yasui and Iris Yasui.

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