Sunday, January 02, 2005

Chisholm and Matsui

Two individuals who fought in the United States Congress for human rights died this weekend. Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress, was a strong advocate for the rights of women and minorities during a congressional career that lasted from 1968 to 1982. In 1972, she sought the Democratic nomination for the presidency. Once when she was asked how she wanted to be remembered, she said, "I'd like them to say that Shirley Chisholm had guts. That's how I'd like to be remembered."

Robert Matsui, who experienced internment as a Japanese-American during World War II, was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Sacramento. At his death, he was one of the highest-ranking Asian-Americans in the history of the U.S. Congress. In 1988, Rep. Matsui spear-headed the effort to legislate an official apology and token compensation to those who had been interned during World War II.