America commemorates 50th anniversary of Title IX, promoting equal education opportunity

By: Alfred Acenas

(EBC Hawaii-Pacific)

HONOLULU (Eagle News) — “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

According to President Joe Biden, those 37 words of legislative language, which would become the law known as Title IX of the Education Act of 1972, would transform the nation and continue to make monumental progress in advancing equity and equality for all students.

“This is what America is all about: possibilities.  Millions of women and girls have benefited from the change that Title IX helped make possible,” Biden said in a statement.  “More women and girls are participating and excelling in countless fields — from professional sports, to science, math, and technology than ever before.”

Biden added, “Their leadership, achievements, and success bear out the legacy of countless women throughout history who fought hard for a place at the table and for equal opportunity in all fields.”

The President also recognized the late Congresswoman Patsy Mink, the Hawaii native responsible for leading the charge to write and pass the historic legislation.

Congress honors Title IX author with new official portrait

Members of Congress and others paid tribute to Mink as her new portrait was unveiled in the U.S. Capitol Building on June 23.

Attendees included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and members of Hawaii’s congressional delegation.

The painting includes colors of the Pacific Ocean and abstractions of flora from her home state of Hawaii – heliconia, bird-of-paradise, and others, which form her background.

According to painter Sharon Sprung, the setting evokes Mink’s uniqueness at the outset of her 13-term career in the House: as a Representative from a recently admitted state, a Hawaiian and woman of color, and an activist.

The portrait eventually be put on public display in the Capitol.

Signed into law by President Richard Nixon on June 23, 1972, the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity Education Act served as a landmark legislation for gender equity, transforming educational institutions at all levels nationwide by prohibiting sex discrimination in admissions, recruitment, financial aid, housing, or athletics.

As the first woman of color and first Asian-American woman elected to Congress in 1964, Mink’s work led to other significant changes in education.

These include the early childhood education program known today as Head Start and the Women’s Educational Equity Act of 1974, which promoted gender equity in schools.

Mink died of pneumonia in Honolulu on September 28, 2002, while still in office and running for reelection.  She was 74 years old.
(Eagle News Service)