A few weekends ago on January 27th, The Korematsu Institute celebrated Fred Korematsu Day 2013 by honoring a group of American civil rights heroes. The event was hosted by San Francisco native and activist Danny Glover. In keeping with the theme of event, American Idol star Jasmine Trias performed a rendition of Mariah Carey’s Hero. Those honored included:
- FRED KOREMATSU: Plaintiff who challenged the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans in the US Supreme Court. Karen Korematsu represented her father at the event.
- GORDON HIRABAYASHI: Plaintiff who challenged the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans in the US Supreme Court. Jay Hirabayashi represented his father at the event.
- MITSUYE ENDO: Plaintiff who challenged the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans in theUS Supreme Court. Wayne Tsutsumi and Wendy Weiner represented their mother at the event.
- MIN YASUI: Plaintiff who challenged the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans in the US Supreme Court. Serena Hawkins-Schletzbaum and Chani Hawkins-Walker represented their grandfather at the event.
- INTERNMENT DISSENTERS: “No-Nos,” draft resisters and renunciantswho challenged the WWII incarceration and mistreatment of Japanese Americans. “No-No” Hiroshi Kashiwagi represented this honoree group at the event.
- DOLLAR STORE STRIKERS: Women labor activists who launched one of the longest-running strikes in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Mervyn Lee, son of striker Sue Ko Lee, will represent this honoree group at the event.
- PHILIP VERA CRUZ: Filipino American founding member of the United Farm Workers and defender of workers’ rights. Fernando Gapasin represented his uncle at the event.
- LARRY ITLIONG: Filipino American organizer and coalition builder in California’s farm labor movement. Johnny Itliong represented his father at the event.
Self Determination Heroes
- YURI KOCHIYAMA: Japanese American grassroots activist for pan-ethnic social justice movements. Audee Kochiyama represented her mother at the event.
- GRACE LEE BOGGS: Chinese American grassroots activist for pan-ethnic social justice movements.
Race in Court Heroes
- WONG KIM ARK: Chinese American plaintiff in US Supreme Court case affirming birthright citizenship. Gary Wong represented his grandfather at the event.
- BHAGAT SINGH THIND: Sikh American plaintiff in US Supreme Court case examining race-based citizenship. David Bhagat Thind represented his father at the event.
- MAMIE TAPE: Chinese American child plaintiff in landmark case reinforcing equal access to education. Alisa Kim represented her aunt at the event.
- JAPANESE AMERICAN WWII VETERANS: Soldiers who fought bravely in segregated WWII military units in the face of racism at home. MIS veteran Asa Hanamoto represented this honoree group at the event.
- FILIPINO WWII VETERANOS: Filipino soldiers who fought for the US against Japanese forces during WWII but were later denied US military benefits. Veterano Alberto Saldajeno represented this honoree group at the event.
I thought the short films highlighting each group was very, very educational and I learned quite a bit. First of all, I didn’t realize Danny Glover had been an activist his entire life (nor a San Franciscan native) – I only know him from his films (and I’ve never seen any of the Lethal Weapon movies).
The last time I had attended a Korematsu Day celebration event was back in January 2011 when California had declared every January 30th Fred Korematsu day. I did know a little about the “Internment heroes” as well as “Military heroes,” but not so much about the “Self determination” and “Race in courts” heroes. What was amazing was that the Korematsu Institute was able to track down and bring relatives and descendants of those heroes who had since passed away to be honored. You can watch the entire edited event above, with a video index below (if you watch the video on Vimeo.com, you’ll be able to jump to the specific time(s) through the links in the video details).
- 00:00:00 – 00:01:08 – Opening remarks – Ling Woo Liu, Director, The Korematsu Institute
- 00:01:08 – 00:06:15 – San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee
- 00:06:15 – 00:08:55 – Ling Woo Liu, Director, The Korematsu Institute
- 00:08:55 – 00:16:50 – Danny Glover, actor and activist
- 00:16:50 – 00:27:00 – Short video for Internment Heroes
- 00:27:50 – 00:30:05 – Internment Heroes honored
- 00:30:05 – 00:36:25 – Short video for Labor Heroes
- 00:36:25 – 00:38:40 – Labor Heroes honored
- 00:38:40 – 00:46:00 – Short video for Self Determination Heroes
- 00:46:00 – 00:47:20 – Self Determination Heroes honored
- 00:47:20 – 00:54:00 – Ling Woo Liu, Director, The Korematsu Institute
- 00:54:00 – 01:01:50 – Short video for Race in Courts Heroes
- 01:01:50 – 01:03:27 – Race in Courts Heroes honored
- 01:03:27 – 01:08:15 – Short video for Military Heroes
- 01:08:15 – 01:10:55 – Military Heroes honored
- 01:10:55 – 01:17:05 – Special performance by Jasmine Trias, “Heroes”
- 01:17:05 – 01:24:20 – Karen Korematsu, daughter of Fred Korematsu, Co-founder, Korematsu Institute
- 01:24:20 – 01:30:00 – All honorees represented on stage
- 01:30:00 – 01:30:38 – Closing remarks