Photo Courtesy of the family of Fred T. Korematsu/Flickr (Creative Commons)
Fred Korematsu, seated center, at a 1983 press conference announcing the re-opening of his civil rights case.
Sunday marks the first celebration of a new state holiday, Fred Korematsu Day, for the late Japanese American civil rights hero whose journey as an activist began when he challenged his forced incarceration in an internment camp during World War II.
A bill approving the Jan. 30 holiday was signed last September by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, making it the first holiday in the United States honoring an Asian American leader.
While the use of the term "concentration camp" may seem controversial to some, we must not forget that Japanese-Americans incarcerated during World War II were American citizens who were uprooted from their homes, forced to live in remote camps, and were not given due process of law. In fact, President Franklin Roosevelt used the term "concentration camp" to identify the camps while they were in existence.
At one time, this chapter was virtually ignored in American history books. But in the late 1960s, information started to emerge, and outrage accompanied the growing awareness about this dark time.
One of the unexpected actors to emerge in this unfolding drama was a humble individual who challenged the law and executive order that allowed Japanese-Americans to be incarcerated in 1942. His name was Fred Korematsu, and he decided that what he learned about freedom, as an American citizen of Japanese ancestry in San Francisco Bay Area public schools, applied to him as well.
Photo by amrufm/Flickr (Creative Commons)
A cheery group of travelers, the women in Muslim head scarves, or hijab, walks through an airport. April, 2009
Most of the reader comments that have flooded news sites since NPR's dismissal of news analyst Juan Williams last week, following a remark he made about Muslims during an appearance on Fox's "The O'Reilly Factor," have been either about his comment or the network's decision to fire him.
But some people have taken Williams' remark - about becoming nervous when he got on a plane and saw people in "Muslim garb" - and provided their own opinions about the profiling of Muslims and others in airports. Some have posted comments about being profiled, others about doing the profiling. Here are a few excerpts from the past few days.
On the KPCC website under an audio clip from Friday's AirTalk program with Larry Mantle, which aired a segment Friday on the Williams incident, "Hargobind" posted: