Fred Korematsu Day to Be Celebrated Virtually

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SAN FRANCISCO — The Fred T. Korematsu Institute will present a virtual celebration of Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution on Saturday, Jan. 30, at 3 p.m. PT, 5 p.m. CT, 6 p.m. ET.

The hourlong celebration will mark the 10th anniversary of the first Fred Korematsu Day in California, which was established by legislation introduced by Assemblymembers Warren Furutani (D-Gardena) and Marty Block (D-San Diego) and signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010. Fred Korematsu Day has since been established in other states and cities.

The day is observed on Jan. 30, the day Korematsu was born in 1919 in Oakland. He passed away in 2005 at the age of 86.

Shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which authorized the removal of individuals of Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast from their homes and their mandatory imprisonment. Korematsu disobeyed the order and became a fugitive under an assumed identity, but was eventually arrested.

With the ACLU of Northern California, Korematsu challenged the constitutionality of the mass incarceration. His conviction was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Korematsu v. United States (1944). But his conviction was overturned four decades later in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco after the disclosure of new evidence challenging the military necessity of the government’s actions — evidence that the U.S. government had withheld from the court.

Korematsu was presented with the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by President Bill Clinton in 1998.

The Korematsu ruling itself was formally condemned by the Supreme Court 74 years later in Trump v. Hawaii (2018).

The Fred T. Korematsu Institute was founded in 2009 by his daughter, Karen, to carry on his legacy as a civil rights advocate by educating and advocating for civil liberties for all communities.

“I’ll never forget my government treating me like this,” Korematsu said shortly before his death. “And I really hope that this will never happen to anybody else because of the way they look.” He urged others to “protest, but not with violence, and don’t be afraid to speak up” when they see injustice.

The Korematsu Day event will include a tribute to the late Rep. John Lewis, who fought for civil rights and urged people to “get into good trouble.”

Event is free and open to public with registration: https://bit.ly/3pqfCx7

For more information, go to: http://korematsuinstitute.networkforgood.com/

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