KITV4 Island News: Lessons from History: "Civil Liberties and the Constitution Day"


By Melody Gonzales

Remembering the past, and learning from it.

In the midst of all that is happening across the nation, we are reminded of our lessons from the past.

Dozens came together at the King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center, on Monday, to commemorate "Civil Liberties and the Constitution Day."

The day coincides with the birthday of civil rights leader, Fred Korematsu, who fought against the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

This year, he would've turned 98-years-old.

Those in attendance were reminded of the Honouliuli Internment camp, and the relevance it has on what is taking place today, with President Donald Trump's executive actions.

 "It becomes even more urgent that we continue to teach or try to educate people and remind that that it didn't work before and lets not go down that road again," staff associate at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i (JCCH), Jane Kurahara said. 

Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa, from Hawaii's 1st district, said in a letter:

"We recognize today as "Civil Liberties and the Constitution Day," to honor all those who have paved the way in ensuring and protecting our civil liberties and rights as American citizens.

We know that it is not a coincidence that this day is the same as the birthday of Fred Korematsu, a civil rights icon. Today, we stand on the shoulders of the brave individuals, like Mr. Korematsu, who fought for equality and civil liberties in the face of extreme adversity. We owe our gratitude to these individuals that we live in a country that is accepting and inclusive of all people and cultures.
Today, it is more important than ever that we stand together to preserve the hard work of those who have gone before us, and continue to celebrate diversity and fight against discrimination.Mahalo to all of you for your efforts in recognizing our civil rights leaders and reminding us all of our collective values in support of civil liberties."

This year's commemoration honored the late Congressman Mark Takai for his service to Hawaii and the nation.

Takai was one, among others, who is responsible for passing legislation establishing January 30th, as "Civil Liberties and the Constitution Day."

At today's event, there was also a showing of the film "The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai‘i."

"Hopefully by passing on the story of the Japanese-American incarceration in Hawaii... the next generation will not forget, and they will remember and they will learn from the past," president and executive director of JCCH, Carole Hayashino added. 

To watch the "The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai‘i," click here.