Richard Murakami was born in 1932 on a grape farm in Florin, Calif., outside of Sacramento. The farm was his grandfather’s, an immigrant from Japan. Richard was born on the farm, his mother, Yomiko, told him, because Sacramento hospitals refused to admit Japanese patients.
In San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre, the Fred T. Korematsu Institute presented its annual program for Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution Jan. 30 with this year’s program entitled “Re(ad)dressing Racial Injustice: From Japanese American Incarceration to Anti-Muslim Bigotry.” Featuring two panels of speakers, as well as presentations by children, the evening addressed the parallels Muslims and people of Arabic descent face today with that of wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans.
A dual ceremony was held Jan. 30 honoring the late civil rights activist Fred T. Korematsu and dedicating the new middle school campus in El Cerrito named in his honor. Korematsu, in 1942 at the age of 23, refused to be placed in the government's Japanese American internment camps of World War II. He was arrested and convicted for defying the order. After a failed Supreme Court appeal in 1944, a federal court in San Francisco overturned his conviction on November 10, 1983. Korematsu was awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton in 1998.
Pulitzer Prize winner Jose Antonio Vargas and Congressman Mike Honda will headline this year’s Fred Korematsu Day Celebration on Sunday, January 26, from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Morris Dailey Auditorium in Tower Hall at San Jose State University. Emmy Award-winning journalist Lloyd LaCuesta will emcee.