CAPAC Members Commemorate Fred Korematsu Day

Jan 28, 2022 Issues: Civil Rights

Washington, D.C. —  Sunday, January 30 is Fred Korematsu Day, the birthday of Fred Korematsu, a Japanese American civil rights activist who objected to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.  In celebration of Fred Korematsu Day, members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements to honor him:

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

“When he challenged the legal right of the government to imprison 120,000 innocent Japanese Americans during World War II, Fred Korematsu brought greater attention and focus to the ways prejudice and bigotry have been not only enshrined, but enforced in our laws. As we celebrate what would have been his 103rd birthday, it is clear that Fred Korematsu was right. The US government and Supreme Court were deeply wrong in supporting such blatant discrimination, and in fact, we have officially apologized for such an unjustifiable policy of state led racism. Today, we honor Fred’s memory and celebrate all those who, like Fred, believed in America’s promise of freedom and equality even when our government did not.”

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

“Today, we honor 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 will always be a hero of mine and serve as a guiding force to my work in Congress. May his legacy live on and encourage us to fight discrimination in every form and create a more inclusive, just, and equal place under the law.”

Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33), CAPAC Whip:

“On what would have been his 103rd birthday, we celebrate Fred Korematsu’s fearless effort to protect the civil rights of all Americans following the unjust internment of over 100,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. His refusal to accept state-sponsored discrimination has inspired generations of activists, leaders, and lawmakers across the country. On this Fred Korematsu Day, we honor his powerful legacy by continuing his work to create an equitable America for all.”

Congressman Ed Case (HI-01):

“Fully three quarters of a century after 23-year-old Toyosaburo “Fred” Korematsu stood up against the infamous order that interned thousands of fellow Japanese American citizens, our country still faces and fights racism and bigotry, which have taken another ugly turn during COVID-19, in the face of this continued racial prejudice and injustice, we can draw inspiration from the courageous act of a Japanese-American whose name is included in the distinguished list of our country’s champions for civil rights. When an executive proclamation was issued in 2013, my Hawai’i joined other states in recognizing ‘Korematsu Day’ either by statute, legislative resolution or proclamation by the governor.  Wherever we are, and whenever the day, let us remember the words of Fred Korematsu, who said simply in court that ‘I would like to see the government admit that they were wrong and do something about it so this will never happen again to any American citizen of any race, creed or color.’”

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13):

“Today, we honor the life and legacy of Fred Korematsu, an Oakland native who took an incredibly brave stand against the atrocities committed by the American government to Japanese Americans during World War II. Refusing to comply with the U.S. Army’s order to leave the Bay Area and be put in a concentration camp, he spent years as a fugitive and fought the legality of one of the most egregious civil rights violations in our nation’s history. His fortitude and heroism are an inspiration to us all. May we honor him by refusing to tolerate hate and discrimination against Asian Americans in all its forms.”

Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06):

“On Fred Korematsu Day, we celebrate his life and dedication to our civil liberties and constitutional rights. Not only did he fight against incarceration, but his efforts and determination helped our country acknowledge the racist and prejudice actions that led to his incarceration. His experience forever impacted my family, and the families of thousands of Japanese Americans. Through his efforts and those who supported him, we took one step closer to a more just society and his fight became a pivotal landmark in the history of civil rights in our country.”

Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10):

"Fred Korematsu Day honors the powerful legacy of an iconic civil rights activist and hero who was committed to speaking out against injustice when Japanese Americans were interned during World War Two. On this special day, we commemorate his dedication to protecting civil liberties for the Asian American Pacific Islander community. I proudly stand with my Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus colleagues in honoring Fred Korematsu and his legacy of fighting for equal justice under the law."

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12):

“On what would have been civil rights leader Fred Korematsu’s 103rd birthday, we honor his legacy by continuing his fight against racism, discrimination, intolerance, and xenophobia. We must contend with the stain on our nation’s history brought on by the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. And while we cannot give back the time stolen from those who were harmed, we can pledge to learn from history and commit to never letting hatred and racism dictate our actions again.”

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09):

“This Sunday we celebrate and commemorate the birthday of Fred Korematsu, a Japanese-American civil rights activist who fought against the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, during one of the darkest times in our country’s history, Fred Korematsu became an inspiration by taking a stand against oppression and racism. On this special holiday, we honor Fred’s life and legacy, which also serves as a reminder for all of us to speak out against the injustices that we see in our society.”