April 4, 2023
Fred Korematsu (1919-2005) with his Presidential Medal of Freedom. (Photo by Shirley Nakao, Courtesy of the Korematsu Institute).

AAP staff report

Sacramento, Calif. (September 23, 2010) – California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution bill making it the first day named after an Asian American in U.S. history. Korematsu Day is designed as a school curriculum program to encourage schools to teach students about the Fred Korematsu story and its relevance in the present post-9/11 environment.

“We are pleased that Gov. Schwarzenegger signed this historic bill to commemorate Fred Korematsu’s courage and advocacy for civil rights of all people,” stated Cheryl Hirata-Dulas of the Twin Cities Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) Education Committee.

“We hope that this prompts other states to follow California’s lead to ensure that students and the general public are educated about the significance of Korematsu’s story, which, post-9/11, is relevant today more than ever, so that what the injustice and loss of civil liberties that the Japanese American community experienced during World War II will never be allowed to happen again to any other groups based on race, ethnicity, religion or other attribute.”

The bill (AB 1775) passed the California legislature on August 24, and according to the Korematsu Institute, it went on to pass a series of unanimous votes on the Senate Floor (34-0) on August 9, the Senate Education Committee (8-0) on June 30, the Assembly Floor (69-0) on May 20, and finally the Assembly Education Committee (8-0) on May 5.

The Korematsu Institute expressed appreciation to the bill’s co-sponsors, Assemblymember Warren Furutani (D – South Los Angeles County) and Assemblymember Marty Block (D – San Diego), the California legislature, and to Governor Schwarzenegger as well. The also credited a listing containing hundreds of community organizations, ethnic bar associations and individuals that sent letters of support over several months in this effort to make history.

The effort was led by Karen Korematsu, who is Fred Korematsu daughter, their legal team, staff and interns at the Korematsu Institute and the Asian Law Caucus.

The first Fred Korematsu Day will be celebrated on his Birthday, January 30, 2011. The Korematsu Institute will hold a grand celebration that day in the Bay Area, in addition to various activities throughout the state. We are also in the process of designing K-12 curriculum to roll out into California classrooms.

Fred Toyosaburo Korematsu was born in Oakland, Calif. on January 30, 1919. He is most noted as an ordinary person who took an extraordinary stand and refusing to willingly comply with the forced internment of Japanese Americans in 1942 for the duration of the Second World War.

Korematsu was arrested and convicted of defying the government’s order. He appealed his case all the way to the Supreme Court in 1944. It ruled against him with the decision of the majority court led by Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone calling the internment justified for “military necessity.”

Associate Justices Frank Murphy, Owen J. Roberts and Robert H. Jackson dissented – calling the decision a “legalization of racism” that has no part in a free, democratic and constitutional society where everyone has a origin from somewhere else and has equal application under the law.

In 1983, a group of young lawyers, most of whom were Japanese American, discovered key documents that government lawyers had hidden them from the Supreme Court in 1944. They were considered damaging to the case for internment and when presented as new evidence, the legal team re-opened Korematsu’s case on the basis of government misconduct.

It what is now considered a pivotal moment in civil rights history, the Korematsu conviction was overturned in the US District Court of the Northern District of California on November 10, 1983.

Korematsu received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Bill Clinton in 1998. The honor signified the fact that Korematsu had stood up not only for his own rights and those of his fellow Japanese-American internees, but for the civil rights of all U.S. citizens.

The story of Korematsu’s heroism and educational outreach efforts inspired his own family and countless activists to continue in the struggle to demonstrate the importance of building cross-cultural alliances and strengthen the broader civil rights movement.

Korematsu passed away in Marin County, Calif. on March 30, 2005. His legacy lives on with Korematsu Day and with the Korematsu Institute. Read about his life and the legacy of his plight at http://korematsuinstitute.org.

The Twin Cities JACL has a collection of curriculum guides, books, oral histories, DVDs, archival photographs and other materials that are available to teachers on the topic of the Japanese American experience during World War II. Visit www.twincitiesjacl.org for more information.

1 thought on “Governor Schwarzenegger signs Fred Korematsu Day into law

  1. French citizens (bourgeois) revolution began in 1789th year, and lasted until the 1795th, according to some, and 1799th year. The greatest achievement of this process, the abolition of feudalism in France and many other European countries. All previous revolutions had different characteristics. This revolution is something quite radical, and marks an epoch of freedom from feudal pressure and injustice, the elimination form of personal dependence and lack of freedom of people.
    Louis (Louis / Louis) XVI
    Causes of the French Revolution were economic (poor living conditions) and ideological reasons (the Enlightenment ideas). In fact, an important structure of French society:
    King – highest ruler under whom the estates were:
    class – the clergy
    class – the nobility
    class – the bourgeoisie, peasantry and citizenship = 98%
    France at that time there are around 26 million inhabitants, a third class has been politically disempowered. Public and civil services were conducted only nobles and priests who were also exempted from taxes and additionally, as the ruling class, the king received state benefits (pensions). It is an anomaly, because France was almost totally unique in terms of language, and all were considered subjects of the French king.
    In the second class there are differences: there is a nobility by birth (the old aristocracy) and the administrative nobility which created the new century, noble titles were given for merit. There are also differences between the higher and lower nobility. Some nobles had access to the court, and some do not. Some nobles were very rich, some poor. Member of the 2nd class was about 200 000 people. The first part of the first and 2 class was dissatisfied, and joined the 3rd class. The entire French society was ripe for change and seek political rights.
    In the third class differences were very complex, most of them lived in rural areas, and farmers make up ¾ of them. Legal status of slaves, their rights and obligations consisted of the official system. Serfdom at the beginning of the revolution no longer existed in the classical sense, but in some provinces, where they still can not move, marry without permission of feudal lords. However, already existed and personal freedom, freedom of marriage. Obligations of the peasants were: paying rent of land, government taxes and duties of the church, and tithe. They had no right to hunt. Citizenship is more varied. Decisive role in the stratification of citizenship did the money. There is also a part of the rich bourgeoisie. Great wealth is located in the manufacturing industry, the beginnings of industrialization. The third group consists of bankers, the big bankers and small usurers. Many groups were workers – Beginnings manufakturnog workers, who accounted for poor urban residents. This class was divided between them. Poor bourgeoisie was mainly for the revolution.
    In France, there was another institution in addition to these 3 classes, and to the king with his court. And the king’s palace as an institution were placed in front of everyone, under fire, were very noticeable, and for centuries have led a life beyond the capability. Louis XV., Introduced by the balls, fireworks, receptions, masquerades, which led to a crisis of governance. This has continued and Louis XVI (1754th-1793rd), who found himself in great difficulties, and was not ruling elite skills, and was subject to his wife Marie Antoinette. He married her in 1770 has .. He was 15 years, and she 14th Rastrošnost led the court to a head, the great displeasure of the French society, causing a series of scandals.
    Commitment to reform government
    Jacques Necker
    King has tried to reform public finances, reduce costs and restructure the tax system – that helped him finance minister Robert Turgot, introducing reforms: free trade (grain and flour) – fiziokratizam, liquidation of guilds and tax reform, which introduces all three classes. Reforms are needed funding. The state should change the tax system, but not to introduce new taxes, but that the schedules more evenly throughout the company, while reducing the costs of court and administration. 1776th there has been a poor harvest, resulting in expensive grains and riots. Turgot has resigned, and in its place came Jacques Necker, who was finance minister until 1781st Otherwise he was a banker and has enjoyed great popularity in the 3rd class, although he was an aristocrat. Necker was trying to balance revenues and expenditures. It was not fiziokratist and Turgot. After that, the archbishop was a finance minister, to 1788. And after it was again Necker, but satisfaction did not last long. 1788th year was tough, yielding ones. There was a lot of hunger, dying, and there have been riots in the winter and spring 1788th Convened a general class (representatives of all three classes), who should consider how to continue. The institution of the general class of 14 there century, but not long been convened, the 1614th In 1789th ruler convened the Estates. You should have been 1200 delegates at the meeting. 1st and 2 class were chosen by the 300 representatives, a third class them 600th There was a struggle for the vote of each representative. They held up the election for representatives of each, and have signed an appeal (Appeal peka = notebook, an important economic indicator) and demanding that the king should be sent to the assembly. It is activated in many third class (lawyers, journalists, members of civic intelligence). This period before the revolution, a revolution is called a lawyer. The main motto of the equality of all before the law – the abolition of the feudal system. After France were circulating brochures, flyers, which talk about equality, the start time of freedom is emphasized. Approximately 1 / 3 of people are literate, in the cities a higher percentage.
    General estates and the National (Constituent) Assembly
    In early May 1789th began a session of the General class. The minister held a two-hour speech. Louis XVI was uninterested in state affairs. During the fall of Bastille king was in the hunt. At the beginning of the session led to a small war over how the vote (300 members of the clergy, 300 members of the nobility, and 600 members of the third class). 17th lipnja 1789th for the first time put forward a proposal (third class, and some of the clergy). They proclaimed the People’s Assembly (the real representatives of the people) and stayed in the hall for srca Lonely Hearts Club. The king ordered the termination of the session. 3rd the 20th class June came to the room, vowed that it would not disband until they adopt the Constitution. King believed that the estates will generally subside third class and approved the new taxes, which led to failure, ie until the beginning of revolutionary change. For 1 week the king was allowed to Assembly still in session – it was then changed its name to the Constituent Assembly (Constituent Assembly). They were joined her and some representatives of the second class. Most of them were to limit the absolutism. King and supporters would like to disable them, and brought thousands of troops around Paris. The king sacked the ministers (Neckar). Puk is expected to bring changes estates General. Revolt of the masses of the King. In late June have created the new city government in Paris and created the National Guard – a military force that will protect those who are for change. The leader of her was the Marquis De La Fayette, which is now changing its name to a citizen of Lafayette.
    Start the Revolution
    14th srpnja 1789th dropped the Bastille (a prison of political prisoners). After the fall caused euphoria and the outbreak of physical violence. Citizens did not want to decide on the fate and politics. The revolution then beginning to realize.
    The first period of the revolution was from the summer 1789th until mid-1791st, attempted revolution of the law. It happened several simultaneous revolutions:
    mass rebellion against the king’s absolutism (at the state level)
    municipal revolution (the city government of Paris) – and in provincial cities
    rural revolution – in the province
    The news is spreading quickly, taken off the city government, and the village has formed a great league, which involved the peasantry, and that also was not aware of what is going on because they did not have all the information. Villagers were terrified. Out of fear were turned against the feudal lords, castles attacked, burned the archives. The fall of the Bastille came to euphoria in Paris, it seemed that the revolution had triumphed.

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