Statement by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas on the Passing of Irene Hirano Inouye

“I am deeply saddened to hear of Irene Hirano Inouye’s passing. Anyone who knew Irene knew she was a force of nature whose impact, over the arc of her long and storied career, isn’t just measured locally, but rather nationally and internationally.

“As Executive Director of the To Help Everyone (T.H.E.) Center for Women, located in my Supervisorial District, she led in the provision of quality health care and social services to an underserved population.  As the President and CEO of the Japanese American National Museum, she established a one-of-a-kind institution that curates the unique story of Japanese Americans and their contributions.  Her leadership on building U.S. – Japan relations to further economic, humanitarian, and educational initiatives will resonate for decades to come. She was also a board member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the only organization founded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Her commitment to community reminds us that though we all have distinct backgrounds and origins, we are bound in common purpose by our shared hopes and dreams for ourselves and our children that the world we leave is better than we met it.

“I was honored and deeply humbled to call Irene a friend. May God bless her memory, and may her soul be bound up in the bond of eternal life.”