SAN FRANCISCO — The Fred T. Korematsu Institute presents the sixth annual Fred Korematsu Day celebration on Saturday, Jan. 30, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at the Herbst Theatre, War Memorial and Performing Arts Center, 401 Van Ness Ave. in San Francisco.
Speakers will include:
• John Diaz (moderator), editorial page editor, San Francisco Chronicle
• Grande H. Lum, director of Community Relations Service, U.S. Department of Justice
• Farhana Khera, president and executive director, Muslim Advocates
• Lorraine Bannai, professor, Seattle University School of Law; director, Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality; author, “Enduring Conviction: Fred Korematsu and His Quest for Justice”
• California Supreme Court Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar (special guest)
• John Sasaki, KTVU Fox 2 (master of ceremonies)
Program preceded by VIP reception at 6 p.m. For VIP information, contact Freda@korematsuinstitute.org.
For a list of other Korematsu Day events across the country, go to www.korematsuinstitute.org/upcoming-events-calendar/.
About Fred Korematsu
Fred T. Korematsu (1919-2005) was a national civil rights hero. In 1942, at the age of 23, he refused to go to the government’s incarceration camps for Japanese Americans. After he was arrested and convicted of defying the government’s order, he appealed his case all the way to the Supreme Court. In 1944, the Supreme Court ruled against him, arguing that the incarceration was justified due to military necessity.
In 1983, Prof. Peter Irons, a legal historian, together with researcher Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga, discovered key documents that government intelligence agencies had hidden from the Supreme Court in 1944. The documents consistently showed that Japanese Americans had committed no acts of treason to justify mass incarceration. With this new evidence, a pro-bono legal team that included the Asian Law Caucus re-opened Korematsu’s 40-year-old case on the basis of government misconduct. On Nov. 10, 1983, his conviction was overturned in a federal court in San Francisco. It was a pivotal moment in civil rights history.
Korematsu remained an activist throughout his life. In 1998, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Bill Clinton. In 2010, the State of California passed the Fred Korematsu Day bill, making Jan. 30 (his birthday) the first day in the U.S. named after an Asian American. Korematsu’s growing legacy continues to inspire people of all backgrounds and demonstrates the importance of speaking up to fight injustice.