Award Recipient Criteria

Two or more of the following:

  • Lifetime of activism, courage, leadership, and advocacy.
  • Behaviors and actions exemplified commitment to the ideals of civil liberties guaranteed by the US Constitution.
  • Willingness to speak up and take action when faced with hardship and societal challenges and barriers.
  • Contributions to promote civil and human rights and civil liberties for Asian and Pacific Islander communities and all others.
  • Actions had impact locally, nationally, and internationally.
  • Demonstrated leadership in passage of groundbreaking laws and policies.
  • Actions initiated and established programs and organizations furthering civil liberties, civil and human rights.

Past Award Recipients

2018 – TBD

APANO is currently seeking nominations for our Minoru Yasui Voices of Change Award to be presented at our annual Voices of Change gala on May 19, 2018. Nomination deadline for this award is April 20, 2018. To nominate an individual, fill out the award nomination form and send it back to info[at]

2017 – Chanpone Sinlapsai

Chanpone Sinlapasai, is a partner with Marandas Sinlapasai, P.C. She represents clients regarding general immigration law matters including humanitarian relief, visas, citizenship issues, consular processing, deportation defense and appeals. Ms. Sinlapasai focuses her practice in assisting children who have been abused, abandoned and neglected, and individuals who are survivors of domestic violence, serious crime, and human trafficking. She collaborates with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and advocates to assist survivors of crime and to protect their victims’ rights through the criminal, civil, and immigration systems.

Ms. Sinlapasai received her J.D. from the Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College in 2002 and is a member of the Cornelius Honor Society. She earned her B.A. (English & Philosophy) from Santa Clara University, 1998. Ms. Sinlapasai is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) in Oregon and currently serves as a Commissioner for the Oregon Commission on Asian & Pacific Islander Affairs (OCAPIA).  Ms. Sinlapasai is also an AILA co-liaison for Immigration Custom’s Enforcement (ICE).

Ms. Sinlapasai has been involved with the immigrant and refugee community all of her life in Oregon and California. In addition to her immigration law experience, she has first-hand knowledge of the challenges an individual and family face when coming to a new country as her family resettled in the United States as refugees from Laos in 1980.

Her volunteer work includes serving as the past president of the board for Immigrant Refugee Community Organization (IRCO), a member of the Oregon Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Immigrant Crime Victim’s Rights Enforcement subcommittee, and a member of committees including the Victims of Crime Act Advisory Committee for the State of Oregon, the DOJ’s Crime Victim’s Right Compliance Project Advisory Committee, and a member of the FBI Citizen’s Academy.  Ms. Sinlapasai is the incoming chair for the Oregon Commission on Asian Pacific Islander Affair (OCAPIA).

2016 – Peggy Nagae

JPGphoto_PeggyPeggy Nagae exemplifies the qualities, passion and skills of Minoru Yasui, the 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient for whom the APANO Voices of Change award is named. Throughout her life, she has worked toward civil rights and social justice for individuals and groups and in every position and office she has held. She received her BA from Vassar College and JD degree with honors from Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark. In 1996, President Clinton appointed her to the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund Board. She served as Assistant Dean at the University of Oregon School of Law; Affirmative Action Director at Northwestern School of Law; and adjunct professor at the University of Puget Sound School of Law. She was president and co-chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the Leadership Advisory Council for the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association and vice-chair, American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity; and president, Asian Bar of Washington.

She is a former board member of the Asian American Justice Center and the Center for Asian Pacific American Women. Peggy is well known as the lead attorney in re-opening the World War II Supreme Court case that denied Minoru Yasui his civil rights. She had just turned 26 years old; coincidentally, Minoru Yasui was 25 years old when he broke curfew imposed only on people of Japanese descent. More recently, she co-founded the Minoru Yasui Tribute project that led to the well-deserved recognition of Minoru Yasui as a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient.

2015 – Inaugural:  Minoru Yasui, posthumously

Minoru Yasui Pic

Minoru (Min) Yasui, born in 1916, was a native of Hood River, Oregon. He became a Voice of Change the moment he decided to defy a World War II curfew law imposed on persons of Japanese ancestry who lived on the west coast. He was a 25 year-old attorney in Portland, with a long and productive legal career ahead of him. On March 28, 1942, at 8 p.m., Minoru Yasui began a three-hour walk in downtown Portland that ended with his arrest for breaking a curfew imposed on all persons of Japanese ancestry. He was convicted for this act of defiance, and his conviction was ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States.

Read more about Minoru Yasui