Mineta Speaks OutGAMBIER, Ohio (November 9, 2007) Norman Mineta, who served in the cabinets of both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, comes to Kenyon on November 13 as part of Speak Out Against Discrimination Day.
Mineta experienced discrimination when his family was sent to a Wyoming internment camp for Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans during World War II. His lecture at 8:00 p.m. in Rosse Hall is "Obstacles are for Leaping."
Mineta is a former Democratic mayor of San Jose, California, and represented the Silicon Valley area of California as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for twenty years. He became the first Asian American to serve in a presidential cabinet when appointed secretary of commerce by Clinton in 2000. Bush invited Mineta to remain in Washington as secretary of transportation, a position he held until resigning in July 2006. Mineta then joined Hill & Knowlton, the New York-based communications firm, as vice chairman.
On September 11, 2001, during terrorist attacks on the United States, Mineta ordered all civilian aircraft grounded. He later oversaw the Coast Guard response to the attacks, including development of the Sea Marshal Program, operation of Maritime Safety and Security Teams, and the expansion of the number and mission of Coast Guard Port Security Units.
Kenyon student Matthew Segal, Class of 2008, invited Mineta to the campus. Mineta has played a part in programs sponsored by the Washington-based, nonprofit Student Association for Voter Empowerment (SAVE), founded by Segal.
Speak Out Against Discrimination Day is intended to boost tolerance and celebrate diversity on campus, Segal said. "We hold the day to recognize the limits that institutionalized discrimination holds on people," he said. "We can create a more compassionate environment."
Mineta's appearance is sponsored by the discrimination advisors, the offices of Multicultural Affairs and the Provost, the Washington-based Roosevelt Institution, and SAVE.