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Asian American Press: Rights leaders honored at Fred Korematsu Day event

Fred Korematsu Day 2016  speakers, from left, John Sasaki, John Diaz, Lorraine Bannai, Karen Korematsu, Justice Tino Cuéllar, Farhana Khera and Grande Lum. (Contributed photo)

Fred Korematsu Day 2016  speakers, from left, John Sasaki, John Diaz, Lorraine Bannai, Karen Korematsu, Justice Tino Cuéllar, Farhana Khera and Grande Lum. (Contributed photo)

SAN FRANCISCO (Feb. 2, 2016) — On Saturday, the Fred T. Korematsu Institute honored the late Fred T. Korematsu, with the 6th Annual Fred Korematsu Day celebration at the Herbst Theatre. Korematsu famously fought against the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII, and this year’s celebration, titled “Re(ad)dressing Racial Injustice: From Japanese American Incarceration to Anti-Muslim Bigotry,” built upon Korematsu’s legacy by connecting the Japanese American WWII experience to urgent issues facing other communities, particularly American Muslims.

“My father dedicated much of his life to ensuring that no one else faced the same prejudice as Japanese Americans did during World War II,” said Karen Korematsu, founder and the executive director of the Korematsu Institute. “Unfortunately, American Muslims are today facing the same prejudice as my father did – and we need to correct it.”

The event featured a plenary panel and guest speakers, including: Grande H. Lum, Director, Community Relations Service, U.S. Department of Justice; Farhana Khera, President & Executive Director, Muslim Advocates; Lorraine Bannai, Professor, Seattle University School of Law, and Director, Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality; and the Honorable Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, California Supreme Court Justice. John Diaz, Editorial Page Editor at the San Francisco Chronicle, served as the panel moderator and John Sasaki, KTVU Fox 2, was the master of ceremonies.

Fred T. Korematsu Middle School speech winners Madeeha Khan, left, and Vivien Wallis, right, with Karen Korematsu.

Fred T. Korematsu Middle School speech winners Madeeha Khan, left, and Vivien Wallis, right, with Karen Korematsu.

Fred T. Korematsu Middle School speech winners Madeeha Khan, left, and Vivien Wallis, right, with Karen Korematsu.

Since 2011, California’s Fred Korematsu Day for Civil Liberties and the Constitution has recognized Fred’s mission to “stand up for what is right” and promote justice for all. Fred Korematsu is the first Asian American in the country to have a day named in his honor.

The Fred T. Korematsu Institute advances a just and equal society through education and civic engagement. Founded in 2009 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the reversal of Fred’s conviction, the Korematsu Institute honors Fred’s life-long struggle for justice, which serves as a reminder of the need to protect civil liberties for all people. The Korematsu Institute is a fiscally sponsored project of Community Initiatives.