San Francisco – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement to mark Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution, observed today across California. This is the first day in California history named for an Asian American:
“On Fred Korematsu Day, the people of California remember and honor a man persecuted for his race and imprisoned for his heritage – yet persistent in pursuit of equality for Japanese Americans and in defense of the civil liberties of all Americans.
“Faced with the prejudice of his own government and confronted by the horrors of internment, Fred Korematsu led a fight few others would dare take on. He knew that America was not the land of internment and discrimination, but of opportunity and liberty – and he led a legal battle to ensure our nation lived up to the truest ideals of our democracy.
“Though he would lose his case before the highest court in the land, he would be vindicated by the lower courts decades later, in a pivotal moment in civil rights history. From start to finish, his efforts opened the doors of progress and paved a path of leadership for all who followed in his giant footsteps – like fellow internees Congressman Mike Honda and Congresswoman Doris Matsui, the late Congressman Bob Matsui, and former Secretary Norman Mineta.
“Fred Korematsu may have endured a great miscarriage of justice at the hands of the Supreme Court, yet his actions and courage have inspired others to fight for justice in the generations since. On Korematsu Day, in California and across our country, let us recommit ourselves to the vision he advanced: a nation bound by its belief in civil rights and a people strengthened by the blessings of liberty and equality before the law.”