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Fred Korematsu Day 2011 Inaugural Celebration

  • Wheeler auditorium UC Berkeley Campus 2222 Bancroft Way Berkeley, CA U.S.A. (map)

To watch videos of the speakers, click here.


Sunday Jan. 30, 2011
1:00pm-2:00pm: VIP reception
2:00-3:00pm: Main Program
3:00-4:00pm: General reception
4:00-5:00pm: Screening of the Emmy Award-winning film
Of Civil Wrongs and Rights: the Fred Korematsu Story (60 min)


A keynote speech by the Reverend Jesse Jackson. The founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Rev. Jackson is one of America’s foremost civil rights, religious and political figures. Over the past forty years, he has played a pivotal role in virtually every movement for empowerment, peace, civil rights, gender equality, and economic and social justice. In 2000, President Bill Clinton awarded Reverend Jackson the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. Rev. Jackson has been called the “Conscience of the Nation” and “the Great Unifier,” challenging America to be inclusive and to establish just and humane priorities for the benefit of all. He is known for bringing people together on common ground across lines of race, culture, class, gender and belief. In 1999, Fred Korematsu was honored at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition’s annual awards dinner.

Karen Korematsu, daughter of Fred Korematsu and co-founder of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education. Karen shares her father’s passion for social justice and continues to advance his legacy by helping the Institute with its development and outreach efforts and speaking at events around the country.

Spoken word artist Beau Sia was one of the original cast members in Russell Simmon’s Def Poetry Jam, which won a Tony Award in 2003. He has also appeared in It’s Showtime at the Apollo, HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, and the film Slam. He has published a book of poetry, A Night Without Armor II: The Revenge, and released two spoken word CDs, Attack! Attack! Go! and Dope and Wack.

A video message from Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison. Rep. Ellison is the first Muslim ever elected to U.S. Congress. He has represented the Fifth Congressional District of Minnesota in the U.S. House of Representatives since taking office on January 4, 2007.

Keith’s philosophy is one of “generosity and inclusiveness.” His roots as a community activist and his message of inclusivity through democratic participation resonates throughout the Fifth District. His priorities in Congress are: promoting peace, prosperity for working families, environmental sustainability, and civil and human rights.

California Assemblymember Warren Furutani, co-sponsor of the Fred Korematsu Day bill. Asm. Furutani was re-elected to the 55th District in 2010 for his second two-year term. Warren has over 40 years of experience and involvement in education and public service. He is also the chair of the Asian Pacific Islander American Legislative Caucus, which has ten members. In 2008, he authored Assembly Bill 37, which granted honorary college degrees to Japanese Americans whose education was disrupted due to their wrongful incarceration during World War II.

California Assemblymember Marty Block, co-sponsor of the Fred Korematsu Day bill. Asm. Block was elected in November 2008 to represent the 78th District, one of the most diverse districts in the county of San Diego. He is a former dean and retired professor at San Diego State University (SDSU). His passion on education issues, both at the K-12 levels and collegiate levels shows a strong regard for those who have little or no voice in the political process.

Emcee Sydnie Kohara is an award-winning journalist and co-anchor of the CBS 5 Eyewitness News Early Edition. She has served as an international correspondent and anchor for CNBC in London and Singapore. Kohara is no stranger to public service and community outreach. She was a political appointee under California Governor George Deukmejian, serving as Chief of Communications for the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs. Kohara also helped found Camp CEO, a Girl Scout-sponsored retreat for at-risk teenage girls.

Andre Alexander, 9th grade student at the Fred T. Korematsu freshman campus of San Leandro High School. He is also a member of the school’s football team. Besides his favorite subject at school, English, he enjoys reading, playing football, and snowboarding. He hopes to become a computer graphic designer someday. He is inspired by Fred Korematsu’s story because Mr. Korematsu had the courage to stand up to the government during a time when Japanese and Japanese Americans were all treated like enemies in this country.

Students from Fred T. Korematsu Discovery Academy - Founded in 2006, the Fred T. Korematsu Discovery Academy (KDA) in East Oakland is located at the site of the former Stonehurst Elementary, which Fred Korematsu and his brothers once attended. KDA continues Fred Korematsu’s determination to stand up for what is just and right.

Shirin Sinnar is a Stanford Law Fellow and member of the Korematsu Institute Steering Committee. She previously served as a public interest attorney with the Asian Law Caucus and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of San Francisco, where she represented individuals facing discrimination based on government national security policies and unlawful employment practices. Sinnar also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Warren J. Ferguson of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ling Woo Liu is the Korematsu Institute’s first director. Prior to her current role, she spent five years in Asia, where she worked as a reporter and video producer for TIME magazine and in Hong Kong as well as a reporter for China Central Television in Beijing. Ling is the director of Officer Tsukamoto, a documentary film about the unsolved murder of a Japanese American police officer in Berkeley in 1970.

Later Event: January 27
Fred Korematsu Day Heroes Celebration