Today, on Korematsu Day, NAPABA joins Congress and people around the country in honoring the legacy of civil rights pioneer, Fred T. Korematsu.
In honor of his 100th birthday, Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Senator Chris Coons (D-Delaware), Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colorado), and Representative Mark Takano (D-California) introduced the Fred Korematsu Congressional Gold Medal Act, in recognition of his dedication to civil rights and civil liberties. Korematsu challenged the legality of the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II in the infamous case, Korematsu v. United States (1944).
“NAPABA is proud to honor the legacy of Fred Korematsu on his 100th birthday and encourages Congress to recognize him with a Congressional Gold Medal,” said NAPABA President Daniel Sakaguchi. “At this time it is even more important that we learn from the legacy of Fred Korematsu. As individuals and lawyers we must challenge those laws and policies that discriminate against communities under the pretext that national security requires it, and we must speak out against xenophobia masquerading as patriotism. We thank Senators Hirono, Murkowski, Coons, and Gardner, and Representative Takano for leading this bipartisan effort.”
“Fred Korematsu stood up for the rights of more than 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II, and continued his fight for decades to expand civil rights and overturn his own false criminal conviction,” former NAPABA Board Member Senator Mazie Hirono said. “Awarding the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress’ highest civilian honor, to Fred Korematsu is a fitting tribute to his lifelong pursuit of justice and equality.”
“My father, Fred T. Korematsu, was born in Oakland, California 100 years ago today. A civil rights pioneer, he dedicated his life to ‘stand up for what is right,’ and he worked to ensure what happened to him and other Japanese Americans will never happen again to any other minority group,” said Karen Korematsu, founder and executive director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute and daughter of Fred Korematsu. “I thank Senators Hirono, Murkowski, Coons, and Gardner, and Congressman Takano for their introduction of the Fred Korematsu Congressional Gold Medal Act. Through this bill, it is a reminder that we must Stop Repeating History and, like my father, continue to champion civil liberties and the Constitution for all.”
The Fred Korematsu Congressional Gold Medal Act would award Korematsu with a posthumous Congressional Gold Medal. Passage requires support from a majority of both houses of Congress. NAPABA is proud to join the Korematsu family and others as original supporters of this effort.
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American (APA) attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 50,000 attorneys and over 80 national, state, and local bar associations.