HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow)- Dr. Jackie Young spent the first half of her life as a "spectator" of mass discrimination: growing up during the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII; living in Berlin, Germany when The Wall went up; and then residing in the South before the Civil Rights Movement. She is now living the second half of her life as an "advocate" for civil rights. She has taken on social justice campaigns for special education, the women's movement, equal rights and access to quality health care for people afflicted with cancer.
After being a housewife for 14 years she decided to return to the University of Hawaii when her youngest of four children was 4 months old, juggling school, work and family to complete a master's degree in education and then a doctorate in women's studies in 1989 at the age of 55. In 1990, she was elected to the Hawaii House of Representatives from the Kailua - Waimanalo area and was elected Vice-Speaker of the House, the first woman to hold that position. From 1993 to 1996, she served as an executive member of the Defense Advisory Committee for Women in the Services, advising the U.S. Secretary of Defense on gender and military issues.
In 1998, Jackie was diagnosed with breast cancer. She speaks openly about her cancer experience encouraging women and men to live an active and healthy lifestyle. She is Chief Staff Officer for Mission at the American Cancer Society Hawaii Pacific, where she has worked full time since 1999.
Jackie has received numerous national and local awards for her advocacy work including the Fellow of Pacific Award, the Light of the Orient Award, and the Futrell Award. Currently, Jackie is a member of the Hawaii State Advisory Committee for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, the Hawaii Council on Economic Education, and for 17 years, has served as a founding board member of Hale Ola, a domestic violence community shelter in Windward Oahu. She is on the board of the Hawaii ACLU and is the President of the Korean University Club.
Jackie exemplifies healthy aging. As a cancer survivor she knows the importance of a healthy diet and exercise. She wears a pedometer and strives to walk at least 10,000 steps daily, which is easy given her busy schedule. As the face of the American Cancer Society, Jackie often puts in 12-hour days meeting with community groups, cancer patients, supporters and legislators to build partnerships to help reduce cancer incidence and mortality in Hawaii. Jackie has three grandchildren and on May 20th she celebrated her 76th birthday in Beijing, China by walking on the Great Wall!