More than 700 attendees packed the Wheeler Auditorium at the University of California, Berkeley, for the first Fred Korematsu Day celebration on Jan. 30, 2011 — Korematu’s birthday. He would have been 92 years old.
Minami Tamaki LLP partners Dale Minami and Don Tamaki were members of the legal team that helped overturn Korematsu’s wrongful conviction for defying the military orders that ultimately led to the evacuation and incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans, including Korematsu and his family.Highlights of the event included a keynote by the Rev. Jesse Jackson and remarks by Korematsu’s daughter, Karen,, spoken word artist Beau Sia, California Assemblymember Warren Furutani and a video greeting from Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison. CBS 5 anchor Sydnie Kohara emceed the program.
The first Korematsu Day celebration marked a milestone in the ongoing effort to educate the public about the dangers of rolling back civil liberties in the name of national security.
In September 2010, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill 1775 into law, establishing January 30 as Fred Korematsu Day, the first time in United States history a day has been named after an Asian American.
The Korematsu Institute, launched last year by the Asian Law Caucus in partnership with the Korematsu family, plans to roll out curriculum in K-12 schools that week and on all future Korematsu Days.