Ever since the 1st Fred Korematsu Day Celebration in the San Francisco Bay Area back in 2011, I think I have attended every Celebration. This January 2016 was no different. And given GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s rhetoric on banning muslims and Roanoke,Virginia Mayor David Bowers citing favorably Japanese internment camps and for the halt of Syrian refugees after the December San Bernardino attack, Fred Korematsu Day is more relevant than ever.
The event was held at Herbst Theatre, which I recall the last Celebration held there was back in 2013 with actor Danny Glover as the guest of honor. Last year, actor & activist George Takei was the guest of honor.
This year, the featured panel was:
Re(ad)dressing Racial Injustice:
From Japanese American Incarceration to Anti-Muslim Bigotry
Moderator: John Diaz, Editorial Page Editor, San Francisco Chronicle
Grande H. Lum, Director Community Relations Service, U.S. Department of Justice
Farhana Khera, President & Executive Director, Muslim Advocates
Lorraine Bannai, Professor, Seattle University School of Law; Director, Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality
The whole program consisted of:
- Preshow: BCSF Kids Taiko
- Welcome: John Sasaki, KTVU Fox 2 News Report – MC
- Speech Contest: 8th Grade 1st Place: Madeeha Khan, Fred T. Korematsu Middle School
- Speech Contest: 7th Grade 1st Place: Vivien Wallis, Fred T. Korematsu Middle School
- “Do You Know Your Neighbor”: Video by Know Your Neighbor Coalition
- Feature Panel: Moderator John Diaz, Panelists: The Honorable Grande Lum, Farhana Khera, & Professor Lorraine Bannai
- Spoken Word: Social Justice: Young Gifted & Black
- “Justice Conversation” California Supreme Court Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuellar, Students: 11th & 12th Grade: Castlemont High School, Oakland Technical High, Palo Alto High School
- Play Preview: “Valley of the Heart”: Ryan Takemiya, Actor. Role: Joe (Yoshi) Yamaguchi
- Korematsu Institute Update: Karen Korematsu
As I had mentioned, this year’s Fred Korematsu Day Celebration definitely seemed more relevant given the heated rhetoric over the past year regarding immigration and religion.