Day of Remembrance Media Advisory
Location: NJAHS Peace Gallery 1684 Post Street San Francisco, CA 94115
More Info: http://www.njahs.org/newsdetails.php?id=305
Contact Info: National Japanese American Historical Society
BAY AREA DAY OF REMEMBRANCE PRESS CONFERENCE
CARRYING THE LIGHT FOR JUSTICE: 70 YEARS AFTER EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066
IN MEMORY OF CIVIL RIGHTS ICON GORDON HIRABAYASHI
What: Press conference about this weekend’s Day of Remembrance, an annual commemoration of the exclusion of some 120,000 persons of Japanese descent — most of whom were American citizens — from the West Coast during World War II and their incarceration in American concentration camps. The event reminds the public to be vigilant so that no other groups are similarly scapegoated in times of crises.
Where: National Japanese American Historical Society, 1684 Post St., San Francisco’s Japantown. (415) 921-5007
When: Friday, February 17, 2012. 11:00 a.m.
Who: • Professor Lane Hirabayashi, holder of the George and Sakaye Aratani Professorship in Japanese American
Redress, Internment and Community at UCLA;
• Karen Korematsu, co-founder of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education;
• Hiroshi Shimizu, former incareree at the Tule Lake Segregation Center and chair of the Bay Area Day of
• Robert Rusky and Karen Kai, members of the coram nobis team that successfully vacated the conviction of
Fred Korematsu for defying the exclusion order;
• Other Japanese American WWII veterans and other former inmates.
Visuals: A 12-foot long candelabra of 10 guard towers representing the Japanese American concentration camps.
Contact: Grace Morizawa, (510) 289-1285 or email@example.com
Seventy years ago this Sunday, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, sending more than 120,000persons of Japanese descent — men, women and children — to be segregated behind barbed wire in desolate, isolated concentration camps. Gordon Hirabayashi was the only person to challenge a wartime curfew imposed against Japanese Americans prior to their eviction, the order to vacate, and later the draft. He died on January 2, 2012, after a life-long struggle for civil rights. He is a civil liberties icon and an unsung hero, but his story will not be forgotten. This year’s San Francisco Day of Remembrance is dedicated to his memory. At the time of the Japanese American expulsion, Hirabayashi refused to register and surrendered to the U.S. district attorney in Seattle, Washington. He wrote, “This order for the mass evacuation of all persons of Japanese descent denies them the right to live. It forces thousands of energetic, law-abiding individuals to exist in miserable psychological conditions and a horrible physical atmosphere. ... I consider it my duty to maintain the democratic standards for which this nation lives. Therefore, I must refuse this order of evacuation.” When he was found guilty of violating the evacuation order, he was told to find his own way to a federal labor camp in Arizona and hitchhiked to the camp. It took over 40 years for him to be vindicated by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal, which vacated the exclusion order and upheld the curfew order. UCLA Asian American Studies Professor Lane Hirabayashi, the nephew of Gordon Hirabayashi, will be the keynote speaker at the Day of Remembrance, “Carrying the Light for Justice: 70 Years after Executive Order 9066” on Sunday, Feb. 19, 2012, from 2 to 4 p.m., at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 1881 Post St. He will talk about his uncle and his civil rights legacy. Karen Korematsu, whose father Fred Korematsu defied the wartime exclusion order, will be the master of ceremonies. The State of California passed a bill in 2010 creating the Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution, the first day in U.S. history to be named after an Asian American. Lewis Suzuki, an artist, peace activist, and World War II veteran of the Military Intelligence Service that was recently was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, will receive the Clifford I. Uyeda Peace and Humanitarian Award. The program also includes a candle light procession to the Japanese Culture and Community Center of Northern California, where a reception will be held.