Korematsu Day event available online

Fred Korematsu wearing his the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Dearborn Public Schools is again celebrating Fred Korematsu Day to recognize the Japanese American civil rights leader.

This year’s event was moved online with a video available on the District’s YouTube channel.

The program includes presentations from Roland Hwang, Ron Aramaki and Ayesha Ghazi Edwin with the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission (MAPAAC); a video presentation about Fred Korematsu; closing remarks from Superintendent Glenn Maleyko; and opening remarks from Lena Elkoussy, Fordson High School NHS vice president.

For the last several years, Dearborn Public Schools has held a public Korematsu Day ceremony, usually with high school students helping plan the event.

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.

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