On Saturday, October 22, 2011, Mary Chun, a social studies teacher at Waialua High & Intermediate School, attended a Korematsu teacher’s workshop at Aliiolani Hale, sponsored by the Judiciary History Center, the Hawai’i State Bar Association Civic Education Committee, the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the Hawaii Department of Education, Social Studies Program. She was particularly touched and inspired by a presentation given by Karen Korematsu, Fred’s daughter. The Saturday workshop was followed by a second component, also held at Aliiolani Hale. This component featured a video conference, broadcasts to DOE schools throughout the state, in which former acting US Solicitor General Neil Katyal spoke to a a group of students in Hawaii’s Supreme Courtroom about Korematsu v. the United States as well as Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.
Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution is the first day in U.S. history named after an Asian American. It is celebrated every January 30th on Mr. Korematsu’s birthday. The Fred Korematsu Day bill, AB 1775, was signed into law by former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on September 23, 2010. Fred Korematsu Day is a day of special significance, when schools across the state are encouraged to remember the life of Fred Korematsu and recognize the importance of preserving civil liberties.
In honor of a man who became a civil rights icon for defying the mass internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, the Asian Law Caucus will officially launch the Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education (http://fredkorematsu.org) at the organization’s annual event on Thursday, April 30, in San Francisco.
When our legal team stood in the courtroom of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on a rainy Nov. 10, 1983, to argue for the overturning of Fred Korematsu’s 40-year-old conviction for failure to obey the military orders directed at Japanese Americans in 1942, we knew that an extraordinary event would be unfolding before us.