At a Nikkei senior event I recently attended, I mentioned on that Jan. 30 we were celebrating for the first time Fred Korematsu Day. Only one person in the audience knew who Fred Korematsu was.
Yes, we need to bring to the American public’s attention the injustices brought to light by the vindication of Korematsu, and how we must be vigilant in protecting the civil rights of others. And we also need to educate our own community on the importance of the day.
A friend of mine was in Topaz concentration camp when Korematsu was sent there after being caught by the government authorities. This friend told me Korematsu was criticized and shunned by the internees there.
The long battle on behalf of Korematsu was led by Dale Minami, a activist Sansei attorney who headed the Asian Law Caucus, and who, incidentally, grew up in Gardena. Other Sansei attorneys, as well, joined with him. Our community has, rightfully, paid tribute to Minami, who put his career on hold for years while he fought for Korematsu’s vindication.
Korematsu’s victory was our victory. No longer can the law be interpreted to justify our internment.
San Fernando Valley Chapter JACL