A joint resolution declaring Jan. 30 of each year as “Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution” in N.J. has passed the state’s Senate and Assembly.
Titled Assembly Joint Resolution 98, it is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy.
The resolution’s namesake Korematsu was an American civil rights activist of Japanese ancestry.
He was prohibited on two occasions to serve in the U.S. military during World War II after his selective service classification switched from citizen to enemy alien in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor.
Korematsu was later found guilty in violation of Civilian Exclusion Order No. 34
which resulted in 120,000 permanent residents and American citizens of Japanese descent to be forcibly moved into incarceration camps. Although the decision was initially upheld by the Supreme Court, Korematsu’s conviction was overturned in 1983.
Sponsors of the bill include Assemblyman Brandon Umba of N.J.’s Atlantic, Burlington and Camden districts, Anthony Verrelli of Hunterdon and Mercer, Raj Mukherji of Hudson and Joseph Lagana of Bergen and Passaic.
If the bill is signed by Gov. Murphy, it is expected to join six other states including CA, AZ, Hawaii, VA, N.Y. and FLA in celebrating Fred Korematsu Day.
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