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January 30, 2023: Fred Korematsu Day

WHEREAS, Fred Toyosaburo Korematsu was born in Oakland, California, on January 30, 1919, the third of four sons born to Japanese immigrant parents, and one of many American citizens of Japanese ancestry living on the west coast during World War II; and,

WHEREAS, following the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order authorizing the U.S. military to require that all Americans of Japanese ancestry be placed in internment camps; and,

WHEREAS, Fred T. Korematsu was arrested at the age of 23 on May 30, 1942, and convicted on September 8, 1942, for defying the government's order to be moved to an internment camp, and he appealed his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court; in the December 1944 landmark decision of Korematsu v. United States, the high court ruled against him; and,

WHEREAS, nearly 40 years later, on November 10, 1983, Fred T. Korematsu's conviction was formally vacated in the U.S. District Court of Northern California, an action considered to be a pivotal moment in civil rights history; throughout the rest of his life, Fred T. Korematsu remained an activist and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998, the nation’s highest civilian honor;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim January 30, 2023, as Fred Korematsu Day in Michigan to honor the legacy of Fred T. Korematsu and recognize his many contributions to America’s civil rights movement.