Senators Cantwell, Murray Honor Fred Korematsu, Denounce President Trump’s Targeting of Muslim & Minority Communities

The senators’ resolution establishes January 30, 2017, as “Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) joined their Democratic colleagues in introducing a resolution honoring Fred Korematsu, who challenged the internment of Japanese Americans during World World II, and advocated throughout his life for the civil rights and liberties of all people. In light of what Koretmatsu stood up against, Senators Cantwell and Murray also denounced President Donald Trump’s recent Executive Order establishing a ban on refugees and nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries.

“Fred Korematsu stood up for civil rights of 120,000 Japanese Americans in the face of unprecedented prejudice. His courage to fight for liberty and justice deserves our utmost honor and respect," said Senator Cantwell. "We must continue to build on the progress that Fred fought so hard to achieve.  We cannot roll back the clock to a darker time, and accept  President Trump’s discriminatory ban that is contrary to our core values.”

The resolution establishes January 30, 2017, as “Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution.”

The resolution is sponsored by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.).

A broad coalition of advocacy organizations support the resolution, including the Fred T. Korematsu Institute, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee & Defending Dissent Foundation, Demand Progress, Free Press Action Fund, Restore the Fourth, The Yemen Peace Project, and Fight for the Future.

In 1942, at the age of 23, Fred Korematsu was arrested for refusing to enter the internment camps for Japanese Americans. After his arrest, he appealed his case all the way to the Supreme Court, which upheld Executive Order 9066 based on military necessity. After 40 years, on November 10, 1983, Korematsu’s criminal conviction was overturned in a federal court in San Francisco. Korematsu remained a civil rights advocate throughout his life and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Bill Clinton in 1998. He passed away on March 30, 2005 at the age of 86.