Hawaii Governor Proclaims Korematsu Day

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HONOLULU  — Gov. Neil Abercrombie has proclaimed Jan. 30, 2013 as Fred Korematsu Day in the State of Hawaii.

This is the first statewide recognition of Fred Korematsu Day outside California, according to the San Francisco-based Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education, which has been encouraging school boards, city councils and other government bodies to adopt similar resolutions.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie

“Many thanks to Waialua High School teacher Mary Chun and her students for writing support letters to the governor. An incredible example of civic engagement,” the institute said in a statement.

Jan. 30, the civil rights icon’s birthday, was established as Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution in California in September 2010.

The Hawaii proclamation, dated May 6, reads as follows:

“Whereas, Fred Korematsu was born in Oakland, Calif. on Jan. 30, 1919 as the third of four sons to Japanese immigrant parents …

“Korematsu was one of the many Japanese American citizens living on the West Coast during World War II; following the attack on Pearl Harbor … President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 on Feb. 19, 1942, which authorized the secretary of war and his military commanders to require all Americans of Japanese ancestry be placed in internment camps …

“Korematsu is famously known for his arrest at the age of 23, on May 30, 1942, and conviction on Sept. 8, 1942 for defying the government’s order to report to assembly centers to be moved to internment camps …

“Korematsu appealed his case all the way to the Supreme Court, and in the December 1944 landmark decision of Korematsu v. United States, the high court ruled against him with a 6-to-3 decision that declared the incarceration was justified by the Army’s claims that Americans of Japanese ancestry were radio-signaling enemy ships from shore and were prone to dishonesty …

“Korematsu later moved to Detroit, Mich., where his younger brother resided; there he met his wife, Kathryn, and the two wed before moving to California to raise their children, Karen and Ken …

“Korematsu’s conviction was formally vacated on Nov. 10, 1983 by U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel of the U.S. District Court of Northern California in San Francisco, an action considered to be a pivotal moment in civil rights history that cleared Korematsu’s name but did not overturn the 1944 Supreme Court decision …

“Korematsu remained an activist throughout his life; in 1998, he received the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, from President Clinton …

“Korematsu served on the Constitution Project’s bipartisan Liberty and Security Committee from 2001 until his death on March 30, 2005 …

“Korematsu was recognized in 2010 when the State of California passed the Korematsu Day bill, making Jan. 30 the first day in the United States named after an American of Japanese ancestry …

“Korematsu is considered by many as a national civil rights hero whose growing legacy continues to inspire activists of all backgrounds;

“Now, therefore, I, Neil Abercrombie, governor, and I, Brian Schatz, lieutenant governor of the State of Hawaii, do hereby proclaim Jan. 30, 2013 as Fred Toyosaburo Korematsu Day in Hawaii and encourage the people of the Aloha State to join us in recognizing Fred Korematsu for his contributions to the nation’s civil rights movement.”

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