On January 18, 2013, Utah Governor Gary Herbert proclaimed “Fred Korematsu Day” in Utah for January 30, 2013, which would have been Mr. Korematsu’s 94th birthday. With this proclamation, the beehive state became the third in the country to recognize Fred Korematsu Day, following California’s 2010 passage of a bill establishing a permanent “Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution,” celebrated every January 30, and Hawaii’s May 2012 gubernatorial proclamation recognizing January 30, 2013 as Fred Korematsu Day in Hawaii.
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.
On February 2, civil rights icon Fred T. Korematsu became the first Asian American featured in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery permanent exhibition, “The Struggle for Justice.” Two 1940s-era original photographs of Korematsu were presented on February 2 at 9:30 a.m. at the Portrait Gallery in a private event featuring speakers including the Honorable Norman Y. Mineta, former US Secretary of Transportation, Congresswoman Judy Chu, chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Congressman Mike Honda, Congressman Doris Matsui, Ling Woo Liu, director of the Korematsu Institute, Karen Korematsu, co-founder of the Korematsu Institute and Martin Sullivan, director of the National Portrait Gallery. The photographs are now available for public view.
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.
By Korematsu Institute
The Rafu Shimpo has published an article on the Fred Korematsu Day bill. “It’s not just nostalgia, the issues of Korematsu have current impact on all of us especially after 9/11,” said [Assemblymember] Furutani. “The issues of civil liberties have to stand strong whatever the political wind.” Read the full article here.
Here’s the audio clip and text of Khurshid Khoja’s moving speech on Feb. 21, at the Bay Area Day of Remembrance. Khurshid is an attorney at Reed, Smith LLP, and a board member of the Asian Law Caucus and Asian American Bar Association. Full text posted with permission from the author:
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.