We Keep Us Safe: Korematsu’s Legacy and Fighting Anti-Asian Violence Through Solidarity
Saturday, January 30 from 11:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. ET
Virtual Meeting on Zoom
The New York Day of Remembrance Committee will host a virtual 2021 Fred T. Korematsu Day program. This year’s program is titled We Keep Us Safe: Korematsu’s Legacy and Fighting Anti-Asian Violence Through Solidarity. Grassroots movements led by Black and Brown organizers and groups, such as Zach Norris of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, inspired the title. Such groups seek to build safe, secure, equitable, and life-affirming communities.
This past year brought many challenges for our community. We witnessed and endured significant injustice, pain, and loss from the COVID-19 pandemic, state violence, anti-Black racism, anti-Asian sentiment, and more. 2020 also revealed the incredible strength and resilience of our community, as we mobilized and came together to support each other and those around us through mutual aid and protest. We embodied the spirit of Fred Korematsu’s legacy by engaging in resistance through community care and solidarity.
Reimagining Safety in 2021
As we begin 2021, the New York Day of Remembrance Committee invites us to join in a dialogue on reimagining safety against state and racial violence through community care, resistance, and solidarity. As a community that has experienced over-policing, surveillance, and mass incarceration, we understand that these systems often fail to provide individual and collective safety, security, and support. We understand that we keep each other safe.
In this year’s program, we will discuss the history of policing and surveillance in New York City and Japanese American communities, what collective safety means and looks like, and how to build radical community care networks to support each other.
For questions, contact Linda Morris at LindaSachikoM@gmail.com.
About Fred T. Korematsu
Fred T. Korematsu was a national civil rights hero. In 1942, at the age of 23, he refused to go to the government’s concentration camps for Japanese Americans. After he was arrested and convicted of defying the government’s order, he appealed his case all the way to the Supreme Court. In 1944, the Supreme Court ruled against him, arguing that the incarceration was justified due to military necessity.
In 1983, with new evidence, Korematsu’s 40-year-old case was reopened on the basis of government misconduct. On November 10, 1983, Korematsu’s conviction was overturned in a federal court in San Francisco, a pivotal moment in civil rights history.
Korematsu remained an activist throughout his life. In 1998, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Bill Clinton.
Fred T. Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution in New York City
On December 19, 2017, the New York City Council unanimously passed Resolution 0792, establishing January 30, the activist’s birthday, as a permanent annual observance.
In 2010, when then California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the legislative bill recognizing Fred T. Korematsu Day, it became the first statewide day in U.S. history named after an Asian American. Following California’s lead, three other states officially recognize the observance in perpetuity: Florida, Hawaii, and Virginia. Other states, including Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Utah have all recognized Fred T. Korematsu Day by proclamation.