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CAPAC Members Commemorate Fred Korematsu Day 2023

By January 30, 2023No Comments

WASHINGTON — Today marks Fred Korematsu Day, the birthday of Fred Korematsu, a Japanese American civil rights activist who objected to the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. In commemoration of Fred Korematsu Day, members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released statements from several of its members.following:

CAPAC Chair Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.): “I am so proud to recognize Fred Korematsu as a Japanese American hero in our history. When he was only 23 years old, he was arrested for refusing to go to the U.S. government’s incarceration camps for Japanese Americans that were formed on the basis of racial prejudice. Despite the Supreme Court initially ruling against Fred’s case, he continued to fight not only for his own civil rights but also the rights of over 120,000 other Japanese Americans until his conviction was overturned 41 years later. For the rest of his life, Fred continued to be an active civil rights advocate. In 2004, Fred filed an amicus brief on the wrongful imprisonment of Muslim Americans after Sept. 11, 2001, and warned the U.S. government against repeating their mistakes of the past. Today would have been Fred’s 104th birthday, so we honor him by recognizing the Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution. May Fred’s legacy inspire all of us to persevere in speaking out against injustices even in the face of adversity.”

CAPAC First Vice-Chair Rep. Grace Meng (D-Calif.): “Today, we recognize Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution. Fred Korematsu was a brave and determined activist, who challenged the internment of over 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. Korematsu brought his case to the Supreme Court and, although the racially motivated internment was upheld in 1944, he was successful in getting the case overturned 40 years later. Throughout his life, Fred Korematsu continued to speak out against racial discrimination in all its forms, including condemning the targeting of American Muslims after 9/11. It is imperative that we remember and uplift stories such as Fred Korematsu’s that exemplify the invaluable role of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in the history of this country. Today and every day, we take inspiration and hope from Fred Korematsu’s story and dedicate ourselves to honoring his legacy by fighting for liberty and justice for all Americans.”

CAPAC Second Vice-Chair Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.): “Today, we celebrate the life of Fred Korematsu, a heroic civil rights leader and fierce advocate for justice who stood up for the 120,000 Japanese Americans interned during World War II. Fred Korematsu’s story serves as a reminder of the power of a single person demanding justice. May his legacy live on and encourage us to fight discrimination in every form and create a more inclusive, just and equal nation for all.”

CAPAC Whip Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.): “Fred Korematsu embodied so much of what it means to be American: courage in the face of oppression, commitment to the end of discrimination and dedication to the protection of civil liberties for all Americans regardless of race. On what would have been his 104th birthday, we remember Fred Korematsu’s bravery against the atrocities committed by the U.S. government against Japanese Americans throughout World War II. The mass internment of over 100,000 Japanese Americans during this period is one of the greatest stains on our country’s history. Fred Korematsu’s legal battle against this injustice has inspired countless activists and lawmakers and we honor his memory by continuing his pursuit for liberty and justice for all.”

CAPAC Freshman Representative Rep. Jill Tokuda (D-Hawaii): “Today, we mark Fred Korematsu Day which is celebrated in many places across the country, including Hawaii. Fred Korematsu stood up for the civil rights of over 120,000 Japanese people forcibly relocated and interned during World War II. He went on to spend his life fighting for justice and equality, ensuring that this shameful episode in our nation’s history would never be forgotten or repeated, and bettering our nation as a whole. I am proud to co-lead on legislation that would establish a national “Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution” to honor Fred as a beacon of light fighting for justice and civil rights. Our country is better off thanks to his contributions, and we need more Americans following in his footsteps.”

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii): “A champion for civil rights, Fred Korematsu spent his life fighting for justice and equality. Since 2013, Hawaii has recognized January 30th as Fred Korematsu day, joining several other states in honoring Mr. Korematsu for his bravery and commitment to protecting the constitutional and civil rights of more than 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. His legacy serves as an important reminder that we all have a responsibility to stand up for what’s right. I’m proud to have led efforts to recognize Mr. Korematsu for his dedication to civil rights and advocacy for justice.”

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.): “On Fred Korematsu Day, we celebrate a brave American who stood up against the unjust incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. His steadfast determination inspires us to this day, making sure that we confront the ugly moments of our history and vow to never repeat them. Today, we honor his courage to reject racism and prejudice and fight for the civil liberties of all Americans. But even after today ends, we must continue Fred’s legacy by standing up, speaking out and most importantly uniting against injustice in all its forms. I’m proud to cosponsor Congressman Takano’s legislative package that would take bold actions to protect the civil liberties of all people in our country and honor Fred’s legacy of justice and equality.”

Rep. Nanette Barragan (D-Calif.): “Today, we celebrate the life of Fred Korematsu, a heroic leader who advocated for the civil rights of all Americans. From resisting the unjust incarceration of Japanese Americans in World War II to advocating for the rights of Muslim Americans following September 11, Mr. Korematsu moved the United States towards a more just and equal society. We must work to build on his legacy by fighting against racism, discrimination and bigotry in our country.”

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.): “Today we honor the life and legacy of civil rights activist Fred Korematsu, who bravely stood against the unjust internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. His actions remind us that racism and discrimination have no place in our society and certainly no place in our federal policies. I join my CAPAC colleagues in commemorating Fred Korematsu and his struggle for justice and equality for all.”

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