Dearborn Public Schools is again remembering civil rights leader Fred Korematsu during a special ceremony, and the public is invited to attend. This year’s event will be held at the Michael Berry Career Center on Jan. 30 from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m.
The ceremony is in partnership with the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission, Dearborn Schools Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council, Michael Berry Career Center staff, and School Board Trustee Mary Lane.
Speakers will include:
- Toshiki Masaki – Chair, Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission (MAPAAC)
- Roland Hwang, J.D. – Adjunct Instructor, Department of American Culture, University of Michigan and MAPAAC alumnus
- Mary Engelman – Interim Director, Michigan Department of Civil Rights
- Dr. Karen Korematsu – Founder and Executive Director, Fred T. Korematsu Institute
- Ron Aramaki – Adjunct Instructor, Department of American Culture, University of Michigan
- Mary Kamidoi – Former Internee, Rohwer Camp, Arkansas
Students from the advisory council will join dignitaries as they remember the significant contributions that Korematsu made fighting for civil rights in the United States.
Korematsu’s story is one of belated triumph over the injustice endured by Japanese Americans during World War II. Born in the United States in 1919, Korematsu defied the U.S. government’s order to report to internment camp after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. He was convicted for his refusal and appealed his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled against him in a 6-3 decision in 1944.
After World War II, Korematsu moved to Michigan. His conviction was formally vacated in 1983 based on information that the War Department had misled the Supreme Court with false allegations of espionage and sabotage. In 1998, Korematsu’s courage and activism was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom presented by President Bill Clinton. Korematsu continued to fight for civil rights until his death in 2005.
The Fred T. Korematsu Institute was founded in 2009 to carry on Korematsu’s legacy as a civil rights advocate by educating and advocating for civil liberties for all communities. Today, events are held in his memory across the country every year on or near Jan. 30.