La Mesa, National City, the City and County of San Diego Honor Civil Rights Hero Fred Korematsu

Local cities and county deem January 30th “Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and Constitution” for his work resisting Japanese internment and fighting for social justice

SAN DIEGO, CA — On Tuesday, January 26th, the City of La Mesa and San Diego County will declare January 30th “Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution”. They join National City and the City of San Diego in honoring the late civil rights activist and remembering the history of the imprisonment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

During World War II, the federal government imprisoned more than 120,000 individuals of Japanese descent — the majority of whom were American citizens — in internment camps. Fred Korematsu, then only 23 years old, refused to go to an internment camp and was arrested for defying Executive Order 9066. He was one of three individuals who defied the executive order and appealed their cases all the way up to the Supreme Court. 

Jack Shu, La Mesa City Councilmember, issued the following statement:

“It is important for our community to learn about Fred Korematsu, what he and other Japanese Americans went through due to racism and misinformation from the government. We also need to apply the Korematsu story to current local issues, to understand the core causes of racial tension in our neighborhoods, the need for police reform, to get beyond the knee-jerk reactions of defensiveness, and worse, promoting fear and hate.”

Erin Tsurumoto Grassi, regional policy director at Alliance San Diego, said: 

“My grandparents were imprisoned during WWII as children, and I became an immigrant rights organizer because I recognized that it was years of xenophobic, anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies that created the environment for the internment of Japanese Americans to happen in the first place. We cannot separate what happened to my grandparents during WWII from what is currently happening today. Let us remember Fred Korematsu and the 120,000 others who were unfairly imprisoned during WWII by fighting for a more just and inclusive country.”


About Alliance San Diego

Alliance San Diego is a non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)(3) community empowerment organization working to ensure that all people can achieve their full potential in an environment of harmony, safety, equality, and justice. Our mission is to provide a means for diverse individuals and organizations to share information, collaborate on issues and mobilize for change in the pursuit of social justice, especially in low-income communities and communities of color. We pursue this mission through targeted civic engagement programs and strategic coalitions that focus on specific issues and policy reforms.