-Remembrance of civil rights activist Fred T. Korematsu, Friday, February 3, 2017 at 12:15 p.m.
Fordson High School, in partnership with the Dearborn Public Schools Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council and the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission, will hold a private ceremony to honor the late civil rights activist Fred T. Korematsu, at 12:15 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017.
Students who represent Dearborn High School, Edsel Ford and Fordson on the Advisory Council will join elected officials and other dignitaries as they remember the significant contributions that Korematsu made fighting for civil rights in the United States.
Across Dearborn, students have been taking an active role in promoting unity and understanding. In January, they organized the second annual Martin Luther King Day #TheRealDearborn march. As a continuation of student efforts to build awareness of social justice issues, Dearborn School Board Trustee Mary Lane suggested to the Student Advisory Council that they honor Korematsu.
“It’s important – especially today -- for students to learn about civil rights and celebrate nonviolent social justice heroes,” noted Lane. “I’m proud that our students were committed to the idea and worked with their principal, Heyam Alcodray, and school district staff to organize this informative and meaningful remembrance ceremony.”
Participating in the ceremony at Fordson High School will be: Houd Mashrah, Fordson student and Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council member; Dr. Glenn Maleyko, Superintendent, Dearborn Public Schools Roland Hwang, J.D., Commissioner, Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs and Adjunct Professor, Department of American Culture, University of Michigan; Dr. Agustin Arbulu, Director of Michigan Department of Civil Rights; Ron Aramaki, Instructor, Department of American Culture, University of Michigan; Mary Kamidoi, former internee, Rohwer Camp, Arkansas; and Ron Aramaki, Instructor, Department of American Culture, University of Michigan.
Korematsu’s story is one of triumph over the injustice endured by Japanese Americans. Born in 1919, Korematsu defied the U.S. government’s order to report to internment camp after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He was convicted for his refusal and appealed his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled against him in a 6-3 decision in 1944.
After World War II, Korematsu moved to Michigan. His conviction was formally vacated in 1983 based on information that the War Department had misled the Supreme Court with false allegations of espionage and sabotage. In 1998, Korematsu’s courage and activism was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom presented by President Bill Clinton. He continued to fight for civil rights until his death in 2005.
The Fred T. Korematsu Institute was founded in 2009 to carry on Korematsu's legacy as a civil rights advocate by educating and advocating for civil liberties for all communities.