As Arizona Officially Recognizes Fred Korematsu Day, Asian-Americans Want Ducey To Publicly Condemn Hate Crimes

By Autriya Maneshni
Published: Monday, April 19, 2021 - 1:30pm
Updated: Tuesday, April 20, 2021 - 7:51am
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Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a measure on Thursday to honor the late Fred Korematsu, a World War II internment camp survivor who became a civil rights icon.

The legislation designates Jan. 30, Korematsu's birthday, as Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution.

However, Asian-Americans are asking the governor to do more. 

The move to honor Korematsu comes as local advocacy groups are pressuring Ducey over a nationwide rise in hate crimes against Asian-Americans.

Donna Cheung is the chair of the civil rights committee of the Arizona Chapter of Japanese Americans Citizen League. She says if public officials don’t speak against hate, it can become normalized.

“We’re happy about Korematsu Day, but members of our community — our Asian-American/Pacific Islander community — are being under attack, even if you don’t know about it, even if you don’t hear about it," Cheung said. "And you as an elected official need to speak out and say that’s wrong.”

Cheung says the governor should publicly condemn the hate and also provide the necessary safety resources that these communities deserve.

According to the Associated Press, Fred Korematsu war born in Oakland, California, and convicted in 1942 of disobeying military orders for the removal of Japanese-Americans from their homes. He was placed in an internment camp in Utah, after the federal government set up the camps due to Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor in World War II. In 1944, his appeal of his conviction went before the U.S. Supreme Court and was denied. But in 1983, a federal judge overturned the decision. Korematsu died in 2005.