This Sunday, January 30, 2011, is the FIRST EVER Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution (at least in California)!
In 1942, when the US government was rounding up Japanese Americans and sending them to internment camps, Fred Korematsu refused to go and was convicted for defying the government. He took his case all the way to the Supreme Court, only to be told that the US government had every right to imprison its citizens in the name of national security. It wasn’t until 1983 that the Supreme Court vacated his conviction, although the pardon stopped short of determining that interning entire ethnic groups is illegal.
And Fred Korematsu didn’t stop. After his conviction was overturned, he continued to fight for reparations for the Japanese American community, to share his story, and to defend those whom the government detained and mistreated in the wake of 9/11. He passed in 2005. You can read a full biography here.
You can also join the celebration of his life and fight for civil rights at UC Berkeley this Sunday. Check the invite here.