Fourth Annual Fred Korematsu Day to Feature Honda, Vargas

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SAN JOSE — Pulitzer Prize winner Jose Antonio Vargas and Rep. Mike Honda will headline this year’s Fred Korematsu Day Celebration on Sunday, Jan. 26, from 2:30 to 4 p.m. in the Morris Dailey Auditorium in Tower Hall at San Jose State University.

Emmy Award-winning journalist Lloyd LaCuesta, adjunct professor of journalism at SJSU and former president of the Asian American Journalists Association, will emcee the event, whose theme is “Stand Up for What Is Right!”

Rep. Mike Honda and Jose Antonio Vargas

Rep. Mike Honda and Jose Antonio Vargas

Vargas, a journalist and immigration activist who was born in the Philippines and raised in the U.S., is the writer and director of a new documentary film, “Documented,” which is about his experience as an immigrant, and founder of the nonprofit group Define American.

He was part of the Washington Post team that won the Pulitzer in 2008 for their coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings. In a 2011 essay in The New York Times Magazine, Vargas revealed his status as an “undocumented immigrant” to advocate for the DREAM Act, which would help children in similar circumstances to become citizens.

Q&A will follow his keynote address.

Honda, who represents the 17th Congressional District, will make comments on immigration issues, especially “undocumented” immigrants, which will be a hot topic for Congress as it goes back into session. He is past chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

The celebration honors the fourth anniversary of Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution, which is observed on Jan. 30 by state law in California. Korematsu’s resistance to the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II and his subsequent court victory revealed one of the worst violations of civil rights in American history.

In 1998, Korematsu received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Bill Clinton.

Tickets are $15 general, $5 for students, and can be purchased online at http://korematsuinstitute.org.

The event is produced by the Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education, and sponsored by the Cesar E. Chavez Community Action Center and the Japanese American Museum of San Jose.

For directions and maps, click here.

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