My latest post over at Change.org:
From Arizona’s SB1070 to anti-government rhetoric spouted by the Tea Party, this election season, threats to our basic civil liberties abound. Against this political backdrop, it seems more important than ever to remember the civil rights heroes and champions who paved the way ahead of us.
Fred Korematsu was one such champion — if an unrecognized one.
In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt passed Executive Order 9066, ordering the round-up and imprisonment of thousands of Japanese Americans along America’s West Coast. Families of Japanese Americans were herded into temporary internment camps, and later into permanent relocation camps that dotted the deserts of the Southwest.
An American citizen who was born in Oakland, California, Fred Korematsu refused to abide by E.O. 9066. As families across the West Coast were forced into barbed-wire camps, surrounded by armed guards, Korematsu refused to report for internment. In 1942, he was arrested and convicted in a federal court for violating a military executive order and forcibly detained at a series of internment camps. But that didn’t stop him from appealing his case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1944 on the grounds that E.O. 9066 was “racist.”
Fred Korematsu, who passed away on March 30, 2005, dedicated his entire life to fighting for civil rights. Now, it’s our turn to honor him.
Act Now! And here’s the associated petition you can sign, inspired by the work of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education.