CAPAC Members Commemorate Fred Korematsu Day

Jan 30, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) commemorated Fred Korematsu Day, which is celebrated on January 30 each year to mark Fred Korematsu’s birthday. CAPAC Senator Mazie K. Hirono (HI) and CAPAC Second Vice Chair Mark Takano (CA-41) introduced a bill to posthumously award Fred Korematsu with the Congressional Gold Medal. CAPAC Members also released the following statements:

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair:

“Now, more than ever, we must remember the legacy of civil rights heroes like Fred Korematsu, who courageously stood up against the unjust incarceration of over 120,000 Japanese Americans during world War II. During one of the darkest chapter’s in our nation’s history, Fred Korematsu served as a beacon of hope and refused to remain silent in the face of racism and injustice. His story reminds us that we must remain vigilant in protecting the civil liberties of all Americans, a lesson that is especially poignant today as we confront an Administration determined to implement cruel policies targeting immigrants, religious minorities, and people of color. As we commemorate Fred Korematsu, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday today, let us honor his legacy by continuing to speak out against discrimination, intolerance, and injustice whenever they occur.”

Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06), CAPAC First Vice Chair:

“Fred Korematsu was a courageous civil rights leader who worked to combat discrimination and injustice against Japanese Americans. Today, we are reminded of his lifelong commitment to social justice, and we are inspired to continue the fight for civil rights for all Americans. I am proud to commemorate a legacy that illustrates the power of such persistent and brave advocacy.”

Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41), CAPAC Second Vice Chair:

“Today, we celebrate the life of a tireless activist, a fighter for justice, and a hero to many, Fred Korematsu. As a son of Japanese Americans who lived through internment during World War II, Fred Korematsu’s legacy serves as a guiding light for the work that I do in Congress. We must all do as Fred Korematsu did when our civil rights are being undermined — speak up for what is right, never back down in the face injustice, and demand better from our government. This year will mark 75 years since Korematsu v. United States was decided, bringing to light the progress we have made as a country, but reminding us of the dark times in our nation’s history. We must never allow history to repeat itself and we must never allow the government to commit such an atrocious act against its people. Let us use Fred Korematsu’s life’s work as an example of how to be effective advocates for justice and honor him through our actions as we strive to build a country where every person can be treated equally under the law.”

Congressman Ed Case (HI-01):

“You can add the name of Fred Korematsu to any list of ‘profiles in courage’.  A man who, at the age of 23, defied Executive Order 9066 issued by the President that called for the internment of thousands of American citizens based solely on their Japanese ethnicity. Decades later,  that internment was rightly compared to the action of another President.  This time, Executive Order 13769 targeted people who wanted to come to America from seven predominately Muslim countries.  Hawaii led the fight against that Muslim ban, a spirited challenge inspired by Fred Korematsu’s fight against the injustice paid to him and the thousands of other Japanese Americans who were interned during World War II.  On this day we honor the man, and his courageous battle against branding someone as a threat simply because of race, ethnicity, religion or country of origin.”

Congressman Gil Cisneros (CA-39): 

“Today, I'm proud to stand with the constituents of California's 39th Congressional District to honor the life of Fred Korematsu, a civil rights hero who courageously challenged the unjust internment of over 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. Korematsu dedicated his life to fighting against racial prejudice and injustice towards our nation’s Asian American community, and his legacy reminds us of the importance of speaking up against bigotry and discrimination in all its forms.”

Congressman Barbara Lee (CA-13):

“Today, I join all those in the East Bay and across our country in honoring Fred Korematsu. A proud son of Oakland, Fred Korematsu took a courageous stand against injustice and intolerance by resisting Executive Order 9066. He fought the incarceration of Japanese Americans all the way to the Supreme Court, and spent the rest of his life advocating for the civil rights of all Americans. We all have much to learn from his activism and patriotism. Let us celebrate and remember Fred Korematsu’s legacy by continuing his fight against injustice.”

Congressman Ro Khanna (CA-17):

“Fred Korematsu, a Bay Area native, was a true American hero. His civil rights activism during World War II in resisting Executive Order 9066 and challenging the Supreme Court on the government’s internment of Japanese Americans, inspired many minority communities. Today we must remember his legacy as we continue to fight ignorance and intolerance.”

Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01)

“By standing up against the unjust internment of more than 120,000 Japanese Americans, Fred Korematsu left an enduring legacy of courage and conviction. Along with Oregon’s Minoru Yasui, he fought for the ideals that this country strives to embody: justice and equal treatment for all. Today we face another moment of truth: will we allow racism and hate to divide us and make us complicit in this Administration’s attacks on immigrants? Or will we rise up in the spirit of Fred Korematsu and realize the vision of a just and equal America for everyone?”

Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52):

“Fred Korematsu courageously pursued justice at the highest levels of the American court system for Japanese Americans, who were incarcerated and wrongfully treated during World War II. His pursuit of civil rights during a dark time in American history and throughout the rest of his life demonstrates the importance of speaking up against injustice. We must honor his legacy by continuing the fight against intolerance and xenophobia.”

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The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and Members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.