02.03.22

Rep. Takano Reintroduces Legislation to Establish a National Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution

Washington, D.C. – Today, Representative Mark Takano (D-Calif.) reintroduced legislation to establish a national Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution in recognition of his legacy of fighting against the illegal incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

“Fred Korematsu was a staunch defender of civil rights who stood up for the 120,000 Japanese Americans who were wrongfully interned during World War II, including my own parents and grandparents. His history of fighting for equality and basic human rights and dignities in the face of injustice serves as a guiding force to my work in Congress,” said Rep. Mark Takano. “I’m reintroducing legislation to establish a national Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution to honor his life and legacy, and to ensure that his mighty spirit inspires all of us to reject discrimination, violence, and hate in all forms.”

“Congressman Mark Takano’s leadership role in recognizing the importance of establishing a national Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution on January 30 is commendable, as this day encourages civic education and participation,” said Dr. Karen Korematsu, Founder and Executive Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute, and daughter of Fred Korematsu. “My father was one man who made a difference in the face of adversity for all Americans and so can the members of the U.S. Congress. I hope they will be inspired by Fred Korematsu’s words, ‘Stand Up for What is Right.’”

In 1942, at the age of 23, Fred Korematsu was arrested and convicted for refusing to enter the internment camps for Japanese Americans. After his arrest, he appealed his case all the way to the Supreme Court, which upheld his conviction based on military necessity. After 40 years, on November 10, 1983, Korematsu’s criminal conviction was vacated in a federal court in San Francisco. Korematsu remained a civil rights advocate throughout his life and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Bill Clinton in 1998. He passed away on March 30, 2005, at the age of 86.

 

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