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A Letter to Patsy Mink

Thursday, June 23, 2022 | By Kenna Tanouye

Dear Patsy T. Mink,

You don’t know me, but you changed my life. 

Growing up as a little girl, I was surrounded by basketball from the day I could hold one in my hands. My dad, having a lifelong passion for the game, knew that when both of his daughters were old enough, he would enroll them in local leagues to learn how to play and learn to love it as much as he did. 

If I’m being completely honest, the interest was not there from the get go. I had a short attention span like any other 7-year old and would be caught doing cartwheels on the court when I thought nobody was looking. There were days where I complained about going to practice and times where I tried my best to get out of going to a game because it interfered with something else I wanted to do.

As time went on, I learned more about the sport and thrived in an environment where I could meet other like-minded girls my age who loved the sport just as much as I did. Through the sport of basketball, I wasn’t always the best player on the court, but it challenged me to work hard, think outside of the box, and understand the importance of working well on a team. Basketball took me all over the island and even across the United States to play in summer tournaments and other national events. 

But, if it wasn’t for the passing of Title IX, equal opportunity wouldn’t have even been something afforded to me, let alone the freedom to play organized sports. I’ve been lucky enough to live in a world where I never had to question my belonging in any sport I put my mind to.

Although your original intention of Title IX was for educational and work spaces, your monumental legislation transcended beyond the walls of classrooms and into everyday life and sports. Young girls now live in a world where they’re excited to get out on the field or court and play whatever their hearts desire. 

There aren’t enough thank you’s in the world that could encompass my gratitude to you. 


Your biggest fan, Kenna

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