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Professor Mari Matsuda
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Professor Eric Yamamoto

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law Professors Mari J. Matsuda and Eric K. Yamamoto, whose long careers have been spent fighting for social justice, were the recipients of the Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA).

This award is NAPABA’s highest honor and recognizes outstanding achievements, commitment and leadership of lawyers “who have paved the way for the advancement of other APS [Asian Pacific American] attorneys,” said Marissa N. Machida, NAPABAHawaiʻi president.

In her letter to Yamamoto and Matsuda announcing their awards, Machida pointed out their “commitment to justice and the advancement of Asian and Pacific Americans in the legal profession and the community.”

More on Matsuda and Yamamoto

Matsuda is one of the originators of critical race theory, a social framework contending that racism is engrained in the fabric and system of American society, making it pervasive in the dominant white culture, and marginalizing persons of color.

Matsuda was nominated for the award by Associate Justice and UH Mānoa alumna Sabrina S. McKenna, who wrote that Matsuda has been an outstanding lawyer, teacher and activist.

“As early as 1996 four articles written by Professor Matsuda were listed in the top 100 most cited review articles of all time,” wrote McKenna. “Yale has ranked three of her publications among the Top 10 most cited law review articles in their years of publication.”

Yamamoto was honored for his profound and lasting impact on the Asian Pacific American community through his dedication to civil rights, civil liberties and social justice.

“This has been demonstrated not only in his work as co-counsel to Fred Korematsu in the successful re-opening of the WWII Japanese American internment case, Korematsu v. United States, and in his leading scholarly works on Japanese American internment, but also in his path breaking work on reconciliation initiatives, redress for historic injustice, and in his training and mentorship of new generations of lawyers to continue the fight for justice,” wrote nominator Lisa Ayabe, former NAPABAHawaiʻi president.

For more see the UH law school’s website.

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