Why Asian Americans should care about Fred Korematsu Day 


 Audrey Magazine: 

Never heard of Fred Korematsu before? Well today may just be the perfect day to learn about him. After all, January 30th is proclaimed Fred Korematsu Day. Unfortunately, he often flies under the radar because his story is still one that barely receives recognition in your average American history lesson. In fact, Korematsu Day is only recognized by the states of California, Hawaii and Utah.

During World War II, President Roosevelt signed the Executive Order 9066 which made it legal to incarcerate Japanese Americans and anyone of Japanese descent into concentration camps, and Korematsu’s family fell victim to the legal discrimination. But Korematsu defied the president’s order believing he was an American citizen, and saw the situation for what it was — an injustice.

In an effort to avoid the unjust discrimination, Korematsu got minor surgery to alter his eyes, changed his name to Clyde Sarah and even claimed his ancestry as Hawaiian and Spanish. However, his efforts were foiled when he was arrested and convicted in federal court for violating the government orders.


According to the Supreme Court decision regarding my case, being an American citizen was not enough. They say you have to look like one, otherwise they say you can’t tell a difference between a loyal and a disloyal American,” said Korematsu.

It wasn’t until years later, in 1983, when Judge Marilyn Hall Patel of the U.S. District Court of Northern California in San Francisco formally overturned the conviction of Korematsu that his innocence was acknowledged. It was a pivotal moment in U.S. civil rights history, especially because Korematsu would never forget these injustices. In fact, he decided to make sure America wouldn’t forget these injustices either.

Flash forward to 1998 and you’ll find President Bill Clinton honoring Korematsu with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his persistence to fight against the federal courts for governmental misconduct, as well as his work to pass a bill that would grant an official apology from the U.S. government and compensation of $20,000 for each surviving, formerly incarcerated Japanese American:

Why is his story important? Because it serves as a reminder for Asian Americans that we are still very much human and we deserve our human rights like any other American.

If you feel that Fred Korematsu’s history deserves to be highlighted, 18 Million Rising is holding an online petition to have Korematsu featured as a Google Doodle. They’re 200 letters away from reaching their goal!


For more about Fred Korematsu click here, and you can send in your letter to Google here.


Widow of Gordon Hirabayashi donates Presidential Medal of Freedom

AsAm News:

The Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded posthumously to Gordon Hirabayashi has been donated by his widow to the University of Washington, reports KIRO.

The message he always had was ‘this story is not my story, it’s an American story,’ ” said Susan Carnahan.

The medal will be added to a permanent collection of historical papers connected to Hirabayashi’s landmark case.

He was one of three Japanese Americans who defied orders and refused to go to the incarceration camps. Twice he was sent to prison. But 40 years later, the court finally overturned his conviction.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Check out this link:

Widow of Gordon Hirabayashi donates Presidential Medal of Freedom


Top Asian American achievements of 2013


Each year, certain people are recognized for their accomplishments in the Asian American communities. There were many incredible feats this year, so we grouped them into 10 accomplishments.

1. President Barack Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously to the late Sen. Daniel Inouye in August. Inouye was the first Japanese American to serve in Congress, representing the people of Hawaii from the moment they joined the Union.

2. U.S. Senate Confirmations: It was a big year for U.S. Senate confirmations. Pamela K. Chen became the first openly gay, Asian American person to preside on a federal bench when she was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Raymond T. Chen became the first Asian American to serve on the Federal Circuit in more than 25 years with his U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit confirmation.

Srikanth Srinivasan was confirmed as the first circuit court judge of South Asian descent to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

3. Obama appointments: President Obama appointed Twitter’s legal director Nicole Wong to be the White House’s new deputy U.S. chief privacy officer.

In addition, President Obama nominated Vivek Murthy to serve as the 19th Surgeon General of the United States. If confirmed, Murthy would be the youngest surgeon general in U.S history.

4. Nina Davuluri made history by becoming the first Indian American woman to be crowned Miss America 2014. She was also the first woman to perform a Bollywood dance on the Miss America stage.

5. Wei Chen, 22, organizer of Asian Americans United in Philadelphia, won the Peace First Prize. He is one of 10 young people to receive the inaugural award, which includes a $50,000 fellowship that honors young people who are engaged in peace-making projects and positive change in their communities.

6. After 23 years of service, Gil Dong was officially named chief of the Berkeley Fire Department, and became the first Asian American fire chief in the continental United States.

7. Taiwanese American Ang Lee won the Academy Award for Best Director for his work on “Life of Pi.”

8. Young achievements: Nine-year-old Carissa Yip became the youngest U.S. chess expert. She reached the expert level at a younger age than anyone since the U.S. Chess Federation began electronic recordkeeping in 1991.

Eesha Khare, a Harvard-bound high school graduate from Saratoga, Calif., took the top prize at the 2013 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for her groundbreaking experiment, “Design and Synthesis of Hydrogenated TiO2-Polyaniline Nanorods for Flexible High-Performance Supercapacitors.”

In simpler terms, she invented a device that can charge a cell phone in 30 seconds. In addition, 13-year-old Arvind Mahankali won the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

9. Francis Su, a math professor at Harvey Mudd College in California, was the first Asian American elected president of the Mathematical Association of America.

Check out this link:

Top Asian American achievements of 2013