The state of Hawaii yesterday for the first time officially celebrated Fred Korematsu Day, a civil rights activists who challenged the incarceration of Japanese Americans all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, reports KITV.
Governor Neil Abercrombie issued a proclamation declaring the special day after receiving letters from some of Hawaii’s high school students.
“It was big to me and it felt important and I felt like he should be honored for it,” said Nicole Verdadro.
A few months later, the Governor wrote back and included a copy of the official proclamation.
“Being here today and seeing all these children, to have this day be a day recognized by the state of Hawaii, he would have been so touched,” said Korematsu’s daughter, Karen Korematsu, trying to hold back the tears.
Her father lost his court case, but was vindicated in 1983 when the United States officially apologized to Japanese Americans. In 1998 he was officially awarded a presidential medal of freedom, the highest civilian honor in the country.