University of Hawaii at Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law student Keoni Williams has been named the 2022 Patsy Takemoto Mink Legislative Fellow. The Fellowship provides a unique opportunity for a uh law student interested in public policy and social justice to work with a member of Hawaii’s Congress delegation.
Williams will spend the summer working in the US Congressman’s Washington, D.C. office Kaialiʻi Kahele, who currently occupies the seat once held by Congresswoman Patsy Takemoto Mink, the fraternity’s namesake.
In congratulating Williams, uh dean of law school Camille A.Nelson noted, “Keoni was one of the students in our first Island Leadership Lab. He is an exemplary student and a brilliant person. I have no doubt that he will go on to do great things that have a transformative impact. This scholarship will allow her to hone her already solid leadership skills in the service of the common good.
Empower your community
Williams, a second-generation Micronesian American who has witnessed firsthand the discriminatory effects of his people’s ambiguous status, has a passion for uplifting and empowering his community.
“These injustices sparked my interest in law and politics and are the personal experiences I think of when I reflect on MP Mink’s warning to use her personal experiences to accomplish things that ensure others do not suffer. the same discrimination,” Williams said.
Williams is also a recipient of the East-West Center Graduate Scholarship, which provides financial support for future leaders in the Asia-Pacific region.
“At the East-West Center, Keoni has demonstrated a commitment to serving as an elected member of our student council and has worked closely with the Pacific Islands Development Program, engaging with Pacific leaders at the highest levels on issues of regional importance. He is a future leader with enormous potential to effect positive change at the local, national, regional and global levels,” said Ann Hartman, Dean of the East-West Center Education Program.
Williams’ selection is particularly significant as 2022 marks the 20th year since then-law students Tannaz Simyar, Della Au Belatti, Annie Leeand Tania Cruz founded the Mink Fellowship to honor and continue his legacy after his passing.
Williams reflected on Mink’s plea, “Just as the adversity Congresswoman Mink experienced as a Japanese American woman informed her policy priorities, I too am empowered by my identity and lived experiences.”
This scholarship is an example of uh Mānoa’s goal of improving student achievement (PDF), one of the four objectives defined in the Strategic Plan 2015-2025 (PDF), updated December 2020.
To support the fellowship, visit uh Foundation. For more information, see the uh history of law school.