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Fred Korematsu Day — Utah

Photo by Salt Lake Tribune. Pictured, left to right: Korematsu Institute director Ling Woo Liu, Utah Governor Gary Herbert, former Salt Lake County Councilmember Jani Iwamoto, Topaz Museum board director Jane Beckwith, and Japanese American Citizens League Salt Lake City chapter co-president Jeanette Misaka.

Photo by Salt Lake Tribune. Pictured, left to right: Korematsu Institute director Ling Woo Liu, Utah Governor Gary Herbert, former Salt Lake County Councilmember Jani Iwamoto, Topaz Museum board director Jane Beckwith, and Japanese American Citizens League Salt Lake City chapter co-president Jeanette Misaka.

On January 18, 2013, Utah Governor Gary Herbert proclaimed “Fred Korematsu Day” in Utah for January 30, 2013, which would have been Mr. Korematsu’s 94th birthday. With this proclamation, the beehive state became the third in the country to recognize Fred Korematsu Day, following California’s 2010 passage of a bill establishing a permanent “Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution,” celebrated every January 30, and Hawaii’s May 2012 gubernatorial proclamation recognizing January 30, 2013 as Fred Korematsu Day in Hawaii.

Governor Herbert opened the Utah State Capitol’s Gold Room for the 1pm ceremony, which drew in more than 100 guests, including elected officials, community leaders and numerous Japanese Americans who had been wrongly interned during World War II. The short program also featured remarks from Jani Iwamoto, former Salt Lake County Councilmember who encouraged Governor Herbert to make the proclamation, Ling Woo Liu, director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education in San Francisco, Jane Beckwith, board director of the Topaz Museum, which preserves and teaches the history of the Japanese American internment camp in Topaz Utah, where Mr. Korematsu was interned, and Jeanette Misaka, co-president of the Salt Lake City chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League.

Below is the text of Governor Herbert’s proclamation:

 

Gary Richard Herbert
Governor
Declaration

Whereas, Fred Korematsu was an American citizen born in 1919 and raised in
Oakland, California;

Whereas, Mr. Korematsu was one of approximately 120,000 innocent people of
Japanese descent, two-thirds of whom were American citizens, who were subject to Executive
Order 9066, issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, that required all Japanese Americans
be removed from designated military areas and placed in internment camps;

Whereas, Mr. Korematsu refused to comply with this order and was arrested and later
convicted in Federal Court, and placed along with his family members in the Central Utah
War Relocation Center in Topaz, Utah;

Whereas, Mr. Korematsu courageously appealed his conviction all the way up to the
United States Supreme Court, which, in the landmark case of Korematsu v. United States,
voted 6 – 3 that the enforced internment, though constitutionally suspect, was justified based
on “military necessity”;

Whereas, a review in the early 1980’s found the U.S. Solicitor General had intentionally
withheld reports from military intelligence that denied that Japanese-Americans had
committed any wrongdoing;

Whereas, the conviction of Mr. Korematsu was overturned in 1983, and he continued
his quest to assure civil liberties for all Americans;

Whereas, Mr. Korematsu traveled the nation before his death in 2005, teaching the
next generation, “protest, but not with violence, and don’t be afraid to speak up. One person
can make a difference, even if it takes 40 years”.

Now, Therefore, I, Gary R. Herbert, Governor of the State of Utah, do hereby declare
January 30, 2013, as
Fred Korematsu Day in Utah

Gary R. Herbert

Governor