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National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

1612 K Street NW, Suite 1400
Washington, DC 20006

December 18, 2012

Contact: Emily Chatterjee
(202) 775-9555


Washington - The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) mourns the death of Senator Daniel K. Inouye, the second-longest serving member of the United States Senate and the highest ranking Asian Pacific American in the nation. He was the first Japanese American to serve in Congress and a lifelong champion of civil liberties for all Americans.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of a great man, war hero, and dedicated public servant,” said Wendy Shiba, president of NAPABA, which presented Senator Inouye with the NAPABA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. "Senator Inouye was a trailblazer in every sense of the word, and an inspirational role model for all of us. He had an acute sense of patriotism, and quietly and steadfastly fought injustice wherever he encountered it throughout his distinguished career— from integrating the members’ dining room in the United States House of Representatives as a young congressman in 1959, to championing the rights of Japanese Americans, Native Americans, and Filipino World War II Veterans, to opposing the Defense of Marriage Act in the Senate. Hawaii and our nation have lost a great leader, and our community has lost a great friend. We say a sad final aloha to Senator Inouye today and send our deepest condolences to his wife, Irene Hirano Inouye, and their family."

After returning home from World War II as a heavily decorated war hero from his service on the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Senator Inouye earned his law degree. He continued his career of public service, first working as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu, and then as Hawaii's first Congressman when it achieved statehood. He was elected United States Senator from Hawaii in 1962 and served nine consecutive terms, rising to the rank of President Pro Tempore of the Senate. He served on many Senate committees throughout his career, and served as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations.


The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 40,000 attorneys and 64 local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members represent solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal service and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes professional development of people of color in the legal profession.


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