"There's nothing wrong with the welfare system, it's the fact that the federal government has failed to put enough money so that the jobs programs could be a reality. So we can educate people," Congresswoman Patsy Mink said.

Patsy Matsu Takemoto Mink, small in stature but big in heart and voice.

"She was a physically small person but you didn't want to mess with her," Joshua Wisch, Executive Director of ACLU-Hawaii said.

She dedicated her life to fighting for equality. She's best known for co-authoring the 1972 Title IX Education Act, banning gender discrimination in schools receiving federal funding, giving females equality in the classroom and on the playing field. 

Patsy Mink was a trailblazer from the start, first Japanese-American woman to practice law in Hawaii, elected to the territorial house and Senate.

In 1964, she became the first woman of color elected to Congress, that drive for equality coming from her own experience.

The 1948 University of Hawaii Manoa graduate dreamed of becoming a doctor.

"Everybody knows now that she wanted to go to medical school and when she got rejected basically because she was a woman, she went to law school and decided nobody else should have to go through that again," Wisch said. 

Medicine's loss was America's gain, a whirlwind in D.C. from the start. 

Mink was decades ahead of today's Me Too movement.

"Her (Mink's) work at making sure during the Clarence Thomas hearings that Anita Hill would be heard. She was one of the women who stormed up the steps of the Capitol to have Anita Hill be able to testify," Senator Mazie Hirono said.

Mink was also the first woman to run for President, she received 5,000 votes in Oregon's 1970 Presidential primary.

Mink spend 24 years total in Congress, in two stints. In between she spent one term on the Honolulu City Council where she was elected chair and pushed for a recall vote for three Councilmembers who had switched from Democrat to Republican parties.

Mink was still in office, running for re-election in 2002 when she died of pneumonia after coming down with the chicken pox.

Thousands came to pay their respects as she laid in state at the Capitol rotunda.

Joshua Wisch worked for Patsy Mink on Capitol Hill before her death, and today as Director of the ACLU is still defending Title IX, but he remembers a softer side to the fiesty Congresswoman.

She was a caring mother and a loving wife.

"Anybody who was working in the office late at night got really used to John Mink coming in the office and he had a little desk off by himself and he'd sit there and wait for her to be done with work. And they were just so clearly still in love with each other after all these years," Wisch said. 

"Along with my mother I consider Patsy to be a person that is very inspiring to me. She continues to live on, if you come to my office in Washington D.C. you will see pictures of me and Patsy," Senator Hirono said. 

"How much she cared about her family. How much she cared about the people of Hawaii. Hawaii's remarkable woman in every sense of the word," Wisch said.