Manzanar Committee Statement On The Passing Of Civil Rights Champion Gordon K. Hirabayashi

Gordon K. Hirabayashi.
Photo: University of Alberta, Edmonton

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles-based Manzanar Committee extends its deepest sympathies to the family of Gordon Kiyoshi Hirabayashi, 93, a hero in the Japanese American community, who died on January 2, 2012, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

A native of Auburn, Washington (just northeast of Tacoma), Hirabayashi defied Executive Order 9066, the United States Government’s decree on February 19, 1942, that resulted in the mass roundup and incarceration of over 110,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry in American concentration camps during World War II.

Indeed, Hirabayashi, along with Fred Korematsu and Minoru Yasui, chose to defy the government’s orders, and filed a lawsuit that challenged the constitutionality of the incarceration. The case eventually made it to the United States Supreme Court. Read more of this post

Lessons From Japanese American Internment Can Be Taught At Any Time

The following is a letter from Karen Korematsu, Co-Founder of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute For Civil Rights and Education. It was intended to be read during the 42nd Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, held on April 30, 2011, where her father was honored. However, the letter was not received in time. As such, we are publishing it here.


April 30, 2011

Manzanar Pilgrimage

Dear Teachers, Students and Community Members,

On Sunday, January 30, 2011, we celebrated California’s first Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution. This is the first statewide day to be named after an Asian American in United States History. Read more of this post