Happy Fred Korematsu Day!

Fred Korematsu is a huge civil rights icon. During World War II, when Japanese Americans were moved into incarceration camps, Fred Korematsu refused to go and was arrested for defying government protocols. In 1944, his case reached the Supreme Court, but the Supreme Justices ruled against him, saying that the concentration camps were necessary in the given military situation. Almost 40 years after the case had been closed, evidence was found in government archives stating that there was no justification for Japanese Americans concentration camps. Korematsu's case was reopened and on November 10, 1983 it was overturned; a major milestone in civil rights history.

California recently passed a bill in 2011 making January 30th Fred Korematsu Day. This is the first day in American Hostiry named after an Asian American! Below is a quote from Fred Korematsu regarding his case:

According to the Supreme Court decision regarding my case, being an American citizen was not enough. They say you have to look like one, otherwise they say you can’t tell a difference between a loyal and a disloyal American. I thought that this decision was wrong and I still feel that way. As long as my record stands in federal court, any American citizen can be held in prison or concentration camps without a trial or a hearing. That is if they look like the enemy of our country. Therefore, I would like to see the government admit that they were wrong and do something about it so this will never happen again to any American citizen of any race, creed or color.

After his conviction was overturned, Korematsu continued to be an activist and spoke about his experiences in many events around the nation. Korematsu passed away in 2005, but his fight and his message carries on. Thank you Mr. Korematsu for such a remarkable story that continues to give us hope. 

To read more on Fred Korematsu and this special day please visit: Fred Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education  http://korematsuinstitute.org/fredkorematsuday/ California Marks the First Fred Korematsu Day By:Ling Woo Liu  http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2045111,00.html