Heart Mountain Board Chair Higuchi Honored as Pioneering Japanese American Lawyer

Shirley Ann Higuchi, the Chair of the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation, will be honored as a leader in the Japanese American legal community by the Asian American Legal Defense Education Fund (AALDEF).

She will join former Heart Mountain incarceree Judge Raymond Uno, current White House Asian American liaison Erika Moritsugu, and former Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Stuart Ishimaru in a ceremony honoring Japanese American Legacy Lawyers at 10 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 2, at the Japanese Information & Culture Center in Washington. 

Along with serving as Heart Mountain’s chair, Higuchi is the associate chief of professional practice for justice, legal and state advocacy for the American Psychological Association. She is a former president of the DC Bar and is currently a member of the Federal Law Enforcement Nominating Commission for the District of Columbia, which proposes federal judicial nominees to the White House. 

Uno, a resident of Salt Lake City, was incarcerated as a child at Heart Mountain. He served in the Army during the Korean War and became a lawyer in Salt Lake City. Uno later became the first person of color to become a judge in the state of Utah. He is a former president of the Japanese American Citizens League and a recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun from the Japanese government. 

“I’m thrilled to be honored alongside these giants,” Higuchi said. “Judge Raymond Uno was incarcerated with my parents at Heart Mountain, and I’ve admired him my whole life. I also admire the work Erika and Stuart have done throughout their careers to advance our community and the legal profession.”