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Why Fred T. Korematsu?

The lessons of history must be taught so that the same mistakes are not repeated. That is why education about Fred Korematsu’s fight against injustice each January 30 with the Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution is so important. Fred Korematsu Day is not about Fred’s story alone; it is about the principles of equality, freedom, and justice that we cherish and must work to protect for all.

In 2010, California became the first state to establish the Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution. In 2015, Virginia passed legislation to make it the second state to permanently recognize each January 30 as Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution. Hawaii, Utah, Georgia, Illinois, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Florida have also commemorated the day in various years. Other states, too, are making progress. This month, the General Assembly of Maryland is considering legislation to create a permanent Fred Korematsu Day. You can watch former Acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal’s remarks on behalf of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute before a committee of the Maryland Senate here. The Fred T. Korematsu Institute submitted testimony on this legislation, which you can read here.

The Fred T. Korematsu Institute continues to work with teachers and community leaders across the country to promote the teaching of Fred’s story of the government's misconduct, his fight for justice in the face of adversity and the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, and the relevance of history's lessons to current challenges facing other groups. Our goal is to expand Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution to more states and nationally. Join us in our efforts by urging students to write letters to their legislatures and contacting your law makers to introduce or support legislation to create this commemorative day in your state!