DPS to honor WWII civil rights activist Feb. 1

Photo courtesy of the Dearborn Public Schools Speakers address the audience during the 2018 Korematsu Day ceremony held at Edsel Ford High School. The 2019 ceremony will be held at 12:15 p.m. Feb. 1 at Dearborn High School.

Photo courtesy of the Dearborn Public Schools
Speakers address the audience during the 2018 Korematsu Day ceremony held at Edsel Ford High School. The 2019 ceremony will be held at 12:15 p.m. Feb. 1 at Dearborn High School.

DEARBORN — Dearborn Public Schools will again remember Fred Korematsu during a special ceremony at 12:15 p.m. Feb. 1 at Dearborn High School, 19501 W. Outer Drive.

The public is invited.

Korematsu’s story is one of belated triumph over the injustice endured by Japanese Americans during World War II.  Born in the United States in 1919, Korematsu defied the U.S. government’s order to report to internment camp after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He was convicted for his refusal and appealed his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled against him in a 6-3 decision in 1944.

After World War II, Korematsu moved to Michigan. His conviction was formally vacated in 1983 based on information that the War Department had misled the Supreme Court with false allegations of espionage and sabotage. In 1998, Korematsu’s courage and activism was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom presented by President Bill Clinton. He continued to fight for civil rights until his death in 2005.

The Fred T. Korematsu Institute was founded in 2009 to carry on Korematsu’s legacy as a civil rights advocate by educating and advocating for civil liberties for all communities. Events are held in his memory across the country every year.

The ceremony is in partnership with the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission, Dearborn Schools Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council, DHS staff and DPS Trustee Mary Lane.
Students from the advisory council will join elected officials and other dignitaries as they remember the contributions that Korematsu made fighting for civil rights in the United States.

Speakers for this year’s event include Mary Kamidoi, former internee at the Rohwer Camp in Arkansas; Roland Hwang, commissioner for the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission and adjunct instructor for the Department of American Culture at the University of Michigan; Agustin Arbulu, director for the Michigan Department of Civil Rights; and Ron Aramaki, adjunct instructor for the Department of American Culture at the U-M.

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