U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01), released the following statement today in observance of Fred Korematsu Day:
"I continue to find inspiration in the example of Fred Korematsu. While it is easy today to think of him as a symbol, we cannot forget that he was also a man who stood strong against injustice; he showed uncommon personal strength and was an outstanding American. Mr. Korematsu continues to illustrate both the dangers we face as a nation when we succumb to our fears, and the power of a single committed individual to remind us of our duty to all Americans. His story demonstrates that we must be willing to be judged by how we treat the least powerful among us, those without a voice, and whose interests differ from those of the majority."
Fred Korematsu, an American citizen of Japanese ancestry, was living in Oakland, CA at the outbreak of World War 2, and was ordered interned with other Japanese-Americans in 1942. He refused and was subsequently arrested, convicted and eventually interned.
Korematsu's conviction was vacated in 1983. In 1998, President Bill Clinton awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, saying, "In the long history of our country's constant search for justice, some names of ordinary citizens stand for millions of souls. Plessy, Brown, Parks ... To that distinguished list, today we add the name of Fred Korematsu."
Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa is a fourth-generation American of Japanese ancestry. Both of her grandfathers were interned during World War 2.