HomeAsian AmericansHonoring Fred Korematsu on his birthday

Honoring Fred Korematsu on his birthday

Today is Fred Korematsu’s birthday. The late Japanese American activist would have been turning 105.

Korematsu was born on January 30, 1919, in Oakland, California. In 1942, Korematsu resisted the U.S. government’s incarceration of Japanese Americans. He fought his subsequent arrest and conviction, taking his case to the Supreme Court.

Korematsu lost his case and was incarcerated. After the Japanese Americans were released, he lived in Salt Lake City and Detroit, before eventually moving back to the California Bay Area. He kept quiet about his case for nearly thirty years before returning to activism.

States like California, New Jersey and Michigan have made January 30, “Fred Korematsu Day.” California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statement this morning.

“Throughout his life, Korematsu worked tirelessly to ensure Americans understood the lessons learned from a dark chapter of our history. Today, as we confront attacks on our fundamental rights and freedoms and hate-fueled violence across the country, it is clear that Korematsu’s extraordinary fight for civil rights is far from over. His legacy is a reminder and inspiration to all of us that we must continue to strike out against injustice in our daily lives,” Newsom said in a statement.

Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus also released statements.

“Fred Korematsu stood up for all American’s rights and freedoms by resisting Japanese American internment during WWII. His actions have had a profound impact on my life, my heritage, and the way I and serve in Congress,” second Vice-Chair Rep. Mark Takano (CA-39) said in a statement.

Rep. Takano added that he had reintroduced a package of bills in Congress meant to honor Korematsu’s legacy.

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