Northwest Asian Weekly: Call to Action: Stop Repeating History


On Sept. 18, the children of Gordon Hirabayashi, Minoru Yasui, and Fred Korematsu filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court opposing Executive Order 13780, the Trump administration’s travel ban on nationals from six Muslim-majority nations, pointing to the unjust incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II as an urgent warning against presidential powers run amok.

The national president of Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) Gary Mayeda said, “Those next victims are today’s Muslim community and today we share our story so that it does not become their story.” In a statement, JACL also said, “This serves as an opportunity for the court to learn from its past error in judgment to ensure the preservation of the civil rights of a minority group in the face of infringement from the executive branch.”

“Rather than repeat the injustices of the past,” states the brief, the Court “should heed the lessons of Korematsu, Hirabayashi, and Yasui: Blind deference to the Executive Branch … is incompatible with the protection of fundamental freedoms.”

Hirabayashi, Yasui, and Korematsu were among the 120,000 people forcibly removed from their homes and incarcerated during World War II. The brief states that the men were vindicated four decades later when it was found that the government deceived the Court by withholding evidence that would have exonerated not only the three men, but all persons of Japanese ancestry who were imprisoned.

The brief, filed on behalf of Jay Hirabayashi, Holly Yasui, and Karen Korematsu by the Fred. T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality at Seattle University School of Law is not enough.

Let us join them in holding the government accountable, and reach across the country to say: stop repeating history.

We must stand together and embrace the different paths toward justice given the numerous and persistent threats and dangers before us.

You can add your name to this Call to Action at