Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang: Making the Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution Bill a Reality

Kathryn and Fred Korematsu sit in a bench dedicated to JFK Jr. in a courtyard adjacent to the NYU Law School Auditorium in April, 2000.  Photo by Lia Chang

Kathryn and Fred Korematsu sit in a bench dedicated to JFK Jr. in a courtyard adjacent to the NYU Law School Auditorium in April, 2000. Photo by Lia Chang

How can you help make the Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution Bill a reality?

By sending letters to the Senate for this legislation, sponsored by Assemblymember Warren T. Furutani (D – South Los Angeles County), and first presented at a hearing on May 5, to recognize January 30 as Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution.

In 1942, Fred Toyosaburo Korematsu, challenged Executive Order 9066, a mandate issued by President Roosevelt that imprisoned Japanese Americans in concentration camps during World War II all the way to the Supreme Court, and lost. The wrongful conviction of Fred Korematsu, which was overturned forty years after he was convicted and his appeal denied, is the substance and the context of the bill. This legislation recognizes the importance of preserving civil liberties and the Constitution no matter the extenuating circumstances.

On June 30, the Fred Korematsu Day bill passed in the California Senate Education Committee with a unanimous vote of 8-0. This follows unanimous votes in the Assembly Education Committee (8-0) and Assembly Floor (69-0) in May.

“AB 1775 serves as a vehicle to remind us of the importance of actively preserving civil liberties and the guarantees of the United States Constitution,” said Assemblymember Furutani. “The incarceration of Americans of Japanese descent did not happen in ancient history; it happened less than seventy years ago. The decision to overturn his conviction in 1983 is a milestone for modern civil rights because it sends a message that even during times of real or perceived crisis, we must protect our fundamental civil liberties.”

During the hearing in May, Karen Korematsu, daughter of Fred Korematsu, and Ling Woo Liu, director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute of Civil Rights and Education at the Asian Law Caucus, testified in support of the legislation.

“My father’s experiences around the unconstitutional incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II and his subsequent redemption shape how we discuss civil liberties today,” said Ms. Korematsu. “Honoring my father on Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution on his birthday keeps his legacy alive.”

Current law designates a number of days as having special significance, when public schools are encouraged to observe and conduct commemorative exercises. This bill encourages public schools and educational institutions to observe this day and conduct exercises remembering the life of Fred Korematsu and recognizing the importance of preserving civil liberties, even in times of real or perceived crisis.

AB 1775 will be heard on the Senate Floor in August, and hopefully move to the Governor’s desk in late August or early September. By sending in letters of support for this legislation which encourages educators to teach students about Fred Korematsu’s case and its relevance today, community backing will be reflected during the Senate Floor hearing in August.
For more information, email info@korematsuinstitute.org.

Letters can be faxed or emailed to:
Leilani Aguinaldo Yee
Assemblymember Warren Furutani’s office
Fax: 916.319.2155
Email: Leilani.yee@asm.ca.gov.

List of Supporting Organizations:
American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
American Civil Liberties Union
Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation
Anti-Defamation League
Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area
Asian American Justice Center
Asian Law Caucus
Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County
Asian Pacific American Legal Center
Asian/Pacific Bar Association of Sacramento
Asian Pacific Bar Association of Silicon Valley
Central CA Asian Pacific American Bar Association
Chinese for Affirmative Action
Council on American Islamic Relations – CA
Greater Los Angeles Chapter, San Diego Chapter
Paul DeWitt
Dolores Huerta Foundation
Equal Justice Society
Filipino American Lawyers of San Diego
Filipino Bar Association of Northern California
Fred T. Korematsu Discovery Academy
Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education
Go For Broke National Education Center
Aggie Idemoto, Ed.D.
Japanese American Bar Association of Greater Los Angeles
Japanese American Citizens League (National)
Japanese American Citizens League, San Francisco Chapter
Japanese American Citizens League, Pacific Southwest District
Japanese American Citizens League, Watsonville-Santa Cruz Chapter
Japanese American Museum of San Jose
Japanese American National Museum
Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern CA
Korean American Bar Association of Southern California
Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education
Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area
Muslim Public Affairs Council
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
Orange County Asian American Bar Association
Organization of Chinese Americans (National)
Organization of Chinese Americans, Orange County
Organization of Chinese Americans, Greater Los Angeles
Organization of Chinese Americans, Silicon Valley
Pan Asian Lawyers of San Diego
Philippine American Bar Association of Los Angeles
San Leandro Unified School District
Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund
Sikh Coalition
South Asian Bar Association of Northern California
Southwest Center for Asian Pacific American Law
Thomas Jefferson School of Law’s Asian Pacific American Law Students’ Association
Ventura County Asian American Bar Association

Assemblymember Warren T. Furutani (D-South Los Angeles County) represents the 55th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Carson, Harbor City and the Harbor Gateway, Lakewood, parts of Long Beach, and Wilmington


Bookmark and Share

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2010 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachang@hotmail.com.

Photo by Lia Chang

Photo by Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, performance and fine art botanical photographer and an award-winning multimedia journalist.

As a photographer and videographer, Lia is frequently tapped to collaborate with artists, organizations and companies in establishing their documentary photo archive. She has been documenting her colleagues and contemporaries in the arts, fashion and journalism since making her stage debut as Liat in the National Tour of South Pacific, with Robert Goulet and Barbara Eden.

Lia’s portraits and performance photos have appeared in Vanity Fair, Gourmet, German Elle, Women’s Wear Daily, The Paris Review, VIBE, TV Guide, Daily Variety, Interior Design, American Theatre, Life & Style, OUT, New York Magazine, InStyle, Timeout.com, Villagevoice.com, Playbill.com, Theatermania.com, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, USA Today, The Boston Globe, New York Times and Washington Post. A former syndicated arts and entertainment columnist for KYODO News, Lia is the New York Bureau Chief for AsianConnections.com. She writes about culture, style and Asian American issues for a variety of publications and this Backstage Pass with Lia Chang blog. In July, selections of Lia’s archive of Asian Pacific Americans in the arts, fashion, journalism, politics and space will become part of THE LIA CHANG THEATER PORTFOLIO in the ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN PERFORMING ARTS COLLECTION housed in the Library of Congress Asian Division’s Asian American Pacific Islander Collection.

Related Articles:
Fred Korematsu, American Hero and Civil Rights Activist Dies at 86
AALDEF and the 33rd Asian American International Film Festival co-sponsors screenings of 9500 Liberty and Lt Watada at the Quad Cinema on July 17
Juan Gonzalez and Larry Tu Received AALDEF 2010 Justice in Action Awards in New York
Multimedia: AALDEF Celebrates 35 Years of Protecting and Promoting the Civil Rights of Asian Americans
AALDEF Honors Dale Minami, Nicholas D. Kristof, Sheryl Wudunn and Sandra Leung with 2009 Justice in Action Awards
Photos by Lia Chang at the Shanghai World Expo 2010’s USA Pavilion, Library of Congress and Hollywood Chinese: The Arthur Dong Collection in L.A.Hollywood Chinese: The Arthur Dong Collection Exhibition at the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles, has been extended through November 7, 2010
Celebrating my mom – AN ACTIVE VISION: BEVERLY UMEHARA…LABOR ACTIVIST…1945-1999
Port of Entry:The Angel island Immigration Station
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow Backstage Pass with Lia Chang on WordPress.com