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Nor Cal: Korematsu Day event set for Jan. 30 at UC Berkeley

30 Jan

Fred Korematsu and Rosa Parks. photo by Shirley Nakao

BERKELEY — The Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education will hold a grand celebration Sunday, Jan. 30 at UC Berkeley’s Wheeler Auditorium to commemorate the first Fred Korematsu Day in the State of California.

Then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill 1775 last year, establishing Jan. 30 as Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution — said to be the first day in U.S. history named after an Asian American. The bill uses the wrongful conviction of Korematsu during World War II to emphasize the importance of preserving civil liberties and the Constitution no matter the extenuating circumstances.

Korematsu, an American citizen of Japanese descent who lived in California, refused to comply with the military exclusion order that led to the incarceration of some 120,000 persons of Japanese descent in concentration camps during World War II. He was arrested and convicted of violating the exclusion order, which affected his ability to obtain employment long after those incarcerated were allowed to leave the camps.

Although the United States Supreme Court upheld Korematsu’s conviction in 1944, he, along with a legal team made up of young Japanese American and Asian American attorneys, petitioned for a writ of error coram nobis in 1983 to overturn his conviction.

A VIP reception will be held from 1 to 2 p.m., followed by the main program, which will begin at 2 p.m., and will be followed by the general reception at 3 p.m. The Emmy Award-winning film, “Of Civil Wrongs and Rights: The Fred Korematsu Story,” will be screened at 4 p.m.

Program highlights include: a keynote speech by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, a speech by Karen Korematsu, daughter of Fred Korematsu and co-founder of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education, and a speech by California Assemblymember Warren Furutani, co-sponsor of the Fred Korematsu Day bill. Sydnie Kohara, award-winning news anchor at CBS 5, will emcee the program.

Tickets vary in price (program and VIP reception: $100, program and general admission: $25, program teacher/nonprofit/senior rate: $15 and program student rate: $5) are available for purchase by contacting Cal Performances at (510) 642-9988 or via e-mail at tickets.berkeley.edu.

For more information, call (415) 848-7727 or e-mail info@korematsuinstitute.org.

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January 30, 2011
2:00 pm
$5 – $15
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UC Berkeley’s Wheeler Auditorium
Berkeley, 94720 + Google Map
(415) 848-7727