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Secretary Norman Mineta On His New Film And Engaging Youth In Politics

Still Image from "Norman Mineta And His Legacy: An American Story"
Mineta Legacy Project
With a new film out about his upbringing and work, Mineta says he hopes others volunteer to serve on boards and comissions, and ultimately represent their community.

Next Wednesday, February 19, is Day of Remembrance. It’s the 78th anniversary of when President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which sent West Coast Japanese Americans to concentrationcamps. A note on terminology: These were not Nazi death camps in Europe, but they were spaces that Japanese Americans were forced to live in. 

Norman Mineta, a San Jose native, lived in one of those camps as a boy. He would go on to serve in the cabinets of both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. He says living in a concentration camp shaped his work as an elected official, for which he ultimately earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

Mineta is also the subject of a new documentary film, “Norman Mineta and his Legacy: An American Story.” The film is screening at Fresno City College next week, and Secretary Mineta spoke to Valley Public Radio ahead of the event.


Listen to the interview above to hear Mineta speak about poltical partisanship, engaging youth, and his role in the redress movement.

Valley Public Radio is a media sponsor of the film screening event.

Laura Tsutsui was a reporter and producer for Valley Public Radio. She joined the station in 2017 as a news intern, and later worked as a production assistant and weekend host. Laura covered local issues ranging from politics to housing, and produced the weekly news program Valley Edition. She left the station in November 2020.