Korematsu Day 2013 to Honor 16 Civil Rights Heroes

Korematsu Day 2013 - posterThe Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education is excited to celebrate Korematsu Day 2013 (http://FredKorematsuDayHeroes.org) by honoring 16 American civil rights heroes who’ve been long overlooked (see list below). This will be a historic gathering of civil rights heroes and the descendants of heroes who have passed on.

The event also features celebrity emcee DANNY GLOVER, actor, community activist and humanitarian, as well as a special performance by American Idol star and international recording artist JASMINE TRIAS.

WHEN: Sunday, January 27, 2013. 1:00pm VIP reception with honorees, 2:30-4:30pm program
WHERE: Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Ave. at McAllister, San Francisco, CA 94102
TICKETS: Available for purchase at: http://bit.ly/kdayheroestix
$100 VIP reception with honorees + program admission
$25 program general admission
$10 senior (65+)/student/youth (under 18) admission

If you are a Filipino WWII veteran, Japanese American WWII veteran, Internment Dissenter, or Dollar Store Striker wishing to attend, please call us at 415-848-7737 to request complimentary tickets or email info@korematsuinstitute.org.

HONOREES:

1. FRED KOREMATSU: Plaintiff who challenged the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans in the US Supreme Court. Karen Korematsu will represent her father at the event.

2. GRACE LEE BOGGS: Chinese American grassroots activist for pan-ethnic social justice movements. Ms. Boggs is unable to attend the event.

3. MITSUYE ENDO: Plaintiff who challenged the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans in the US Supreme Court. Wayne Tsutsumi and Wendy Weiner will represent their mother at the event.

4. FILIPINO WWII VETERANOS: Filipino soldiers who fought for the US against Japanese forces during WWII but were later denied US military benefits. Veterano Alberto Saldajeno will represent this honoree group at the event.

5. GORDON HIRABAYASHI: Plaintiff who challenged the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans in the US Supreme Court. Jay Hirabayashi will represent his father at the event.

6. INTERNMENT DISSENTERS: “No Nos,” draft resisters and renunciants who challenged the WWII incarceration and mistreatment of Japanese Americans. “No-No” Hiroshi Kashiwagi will represent this honoree group at the event.

7. LARRY ITLIONG: Filipino American organizer and coalition builder in California’s farm labor movement. Johnny Itliong will represent his father at the event.

8. JAPANESE AMERICAN WWII VETERANS: Soldiers who fought bravely in segregated WWII military units in the face of racism at home. MIS veteran Asa Hanamoto will represent this honoree group at the event.

9. YURI KOCHIYAMA: Japanese American grassroots activist for pan-ethnic social justice movements. Audee Kochiyama-Holman will represent her mother at the event.

10. QUEEN LILI‘UOKALANI: Last reigning monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii and advocate for Hawaiian sovereignty. The Queen’s descendants will not be attending the event.

11. DOLLAR STORE STRIKERS: Women labor activists who launched one of the longest-running strikes in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Mervyn Lee, son of striker Sue Ko Lee, will represent this honoree group at the event.

12. MAMIE TAPE: Chinese American child plaintiff in landmark case reinforcing equal access to education. Alisa Kim will represent her aunt at the event.

13. BHAGAT SINGH THIND: Sikh American plaintiff in US Supreme Court case examining race-based citizenship. David Bhagat Thind will represent his father at the event.

14. PHILIP VERA CRUZ: Filipino American founding member of the United Farm Workers and defender of workers’ rights. Fernando Gapasin will represent his uncle at the event.

15. WONG KIM ARK: Chinese American plaintiff in US Supreme Court case affirming birthright citizenship. Gary Wong will represent his grandfather at the event.

16. MIN YASUI: Plaintiff who challenged the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans in the US Supreme Court. Serena Hawkins-Schletzbaum and Chani Hawkins-Walker will represent their grandfather at the event.

EVENT FUNDERS:

Anonymous Foundation
Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP
Wells Fargo Foundation
Japanese American Citizens League – San Francisco Chapter
Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA)

MEDIA CO-SPONSORS:

8Asians
Angry Asian Man
APEX Express KPFA 94.1FM
AsianWeek Foundation
Diya TV
Japanese City
KAXT Channel 1
New American Media
Nichi Bei Weekly
Philippine News
Radio Campesina
Rafu Shimpo

COMMUNITY CO-SPONSORS:

Asian American Curriculum Project (AACP)
Asian Americans for Community Outreach (AACO)
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
Asian Business League – San Francisco (ABL-SF)
American Legion Cathay Post No. 384
API Circle
Asian Law Alliance
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO, Alameda Chapter (APALA)
Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association
Burmese Youth Association (BYA)
Cameron House
Center for Asian American Media (CAAM)
Cesar Chavez Foundation
Chinese American Heroes
Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA)
Chinese Progressive Association (CPA)
Coalition of Asian American Government Employees (CAAGE)
Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
Filipina Women’s Network (FWN)
Filipino Advocates for Justice
Filipino American Arts Exposition
Filipino Bar Association of Northern California
Fred T. Korematsu Elementary School at Mace Ranch
Friends of Roots
Golden Gate University Law School – Asian Pacific American Law Students Association
Hawaii Chamber of Commerce of Northern California
Japanese American Citizens League – San Francisco Chapter
Japanese American Citizens League – Watsonville-Santa Cruz Chapter
Japanese Community Youth Council (JCYC)
Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC)
Kimochi, Inc.
Korean American Bar Association of Northern California
Laotian American National Alliance (LANA)
Manilatown Heritage Foundation
Miss Asian America Pageant
Nakayoshi Young Professionals
Oakland Asian Cultural Center (OACC)
OCA-East Bay
OCA-San Francisco
OCA-San Mateo
Pacific Islander Community Partnership
Public Allies
RepeatingHistory.org
Richmond Area Multi-Services, Inc. (RAMS)
Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development
Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund
Sikh Coalition
South Asian Bar Association of Northern California
South East Asian Cultural Heritage & Music Performing Arts
Taiwanese American Citizens League – Leading Youth Forward
Taiwanese American Professionals – San Francisco (TAP-SF)
Tule Lake Committee
UC Hastings Asian Pacific American Law Students Association
Voice of Witness

San Francisco Chronicle editorial ‘Indefinite detention: Echoes of World War II internment’

app-screenshot_0802The following editorial appears in the Dec. 21, 2012, edition of the San Francisco Chronicle and also online here. Special thanks to John Diaz at the Chronicle for writing this and to Dale Minami for connecting us with John on this issue.

In awarding a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom to Gordon Hirabayashi in May, President Obama spoke of the courage of the University of Washington student who refused an executive order to be among the 120,000 Japanese Americans sent to internment camps during World War II. Obama expressed his admiration for Hirabayashi as a champion of civil rights.

“In Gordon’s words, ‘It takes a crisis to tell us that unless citizens are willing to stand up for the (Constitution), it’s not worth the paper it’s written on,’ ” Obama said at a White House ceremony. “And this country is better off because of citizens like him who are willing to stand up.”

The president’s words were poignant, appropriate – and in direct contradiction with his own administration’s insistence on a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act that authorizes the U.S. military to indefinitely detain anyone, including American citizens, without due process if the government suspects them of supporting terrorism.

Neither Obama, his predecessor George W. Bush nor the U.S. Congress has shown a willingness to stand up for due process and civil liberties on this issue. Just this week, a House-Senate conference committee preserved the government’s ability to detain people indefinitely without trial in the latest version of the bill.

So who will stand up for the Constitution in this challenge to its cherished principles?

Count the children of Hirabayashi, Fred Korematsu and Minoru Yasui among those who see the dangers of giving government an unchecked ability to deprive Americans of their freedom in the name of national security.

Read the full editorial here.

Federal law on indefinite detention risks repeating Japanese American incarceration injustice

On Dec. 17, 2012, the families of Fred Korematsu, Minoru Yasui, and Gordon Hirabayashi filed an amicus brief in Hedges v. Obama, a lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA). The brief was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

The 2012 NDAA authorizes the U.S. military to arrest and indefinitely detain anyone, including American citizens on U.S. soil, without a warrant or due process if the military simply suspects them of supporting terrorism. This is exactly what the U.S government did in 1942 to 120,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were American citizens, and who spent years in prisons without notice of charges, the right to an attorney, or the right to a trial.

Korematsu, Yasui, and Hirabayashi each refused to obey the military orders leading to the internment, and challenged their resulting criminal convictions, and the internment as a whole, as violations of their fundamental constitutional freedoms. In decisions condemned as civil liberties disasters, the Supreme Court affirmed, deferring without question to the government’s claim that the internment was a military necessity.

More than 40 years later, evidence was discovered proving that the government had committed a fraud on the Supreme Court by suppressing, altering, and destroying critical evidence that Japanese Americans were not a danger to national security.

This newly discovered evidence undermined the government’s justification for the incarceration and contradicted the government’s arguments made before the Supreme Court in the original cases. All three men were vindicated in the 1980s when courts overturned their tainted convictions. The Korematsu, Yasui, and Hirabayashi families and lawyers who helped overturn the convictions have returned to fight the attacks on civil rights by filing an amicus brief in support of the legal challenge against NDAA.

The amicus brief (download) describes a terrifying parallel to the incarceration of Americans of Japanese ancestry during World War II. Under the pretense of national security, the NDAA essentially repeats the decisions in the discredited World War II cases of Korematsu, Hirabayashi, and Yasui, allowing the government to imprison people without any due process rights for an indefinite time.

These potential infringements on the constitutional rights of citizens and residents doom us to repeat history and subverts what should have been lessons learned from the wartime imprisonment.