Williams is also a recipient of the prestigious Graduate Degree Fellowship at the East-West Center, which provides funding support for future leaders in the Asia Pacific region. “At the East-West Center, Keoni has demonstrated his commitment to service as an elected member of our student Board 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 affect positive change locally, nationally, regionally and globally,” remarked Ann Hartman, Dean of the East-West Center Education Program.
Williams’s selection is particularly significant as 2022 marks the twentieth year since then-law students Tannaz Simyar, Della Au Belatti, Annie Lee, and Tania Cruz founded the Mink Fellowship to honor and continue Congresswoman Mink’s legacy following her passing.
Patsy Takemoto Mink was the first woman of color elected to Congress and channeled her personal experiences with discrimination into landmark federal legislations, such as the Title IX Amendment of the Higher Education Act, which prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program receiving federal financial assistance.
Williams reflected on Mink’s advocacy, “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.”
To support the Patsy T. Mink Legislative Fellowship, please visit: uhfoundation.org/patsymink.