On Monday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill making January 30 “Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution.” January 30 is Korematsu’s birthday.
Korematsu was a Japanese American civil rights activist who resisted the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII. The government found him guilty of violating the Civilian Exclusion Order No. 34.
Titled Assembly Joint Resolution 98, the bill making January 30 “Fred Korematsu Day” passed the New Jersey State Assembly and Senate in December 2022. The bill was sponsored by 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.
Governor Murphy was joined by Dr. Karen Korematsu, daughter of Fred Korematsu and Founder and Executive Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute; Ambassador Mikio Mori, Consul General of Japan in New York; and Vice-Consul Haruna Maki to sign the bill into law.
“In setting aside a day permanently recognizing the contributions of Fred Korematsu, we are recommitting ourselves to our nation’s ideal of protecting civil liberties,” Governor Murphy said in a press release. “While we can never rectify the injustices woven into the fabric of our nation’s history, we can ensure that the stories of those who fought against injustice are never forgotten. History must be our guide for creating a better tomorrow. I am honored to sign this resolution and to put New Jersey firmly, and forever, on the side of Fred Korematsu and all who keep his legacy alive.”
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