Today, Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements commemorating the courage and legacy of Fred Korematsu:
- Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair: “January 30th marks a very important day in our nation’s history. In memorializing Fred Korematsu, we acknowledge the courage he demonstrated in standing up against unconscionable policies and recognize him as a civil rights champion, not only for Asian Americans, but for all Americans. Fred Korematsu’s Supreme Court case stands, to this day, as a reminder of why we must always remain vigilant in protecting the sacred rights of every citizen.”
- Congressman Mike Honda (CA-17), CAPAC Chair Emeritus: “Fred Korematsu was a beacon for justice, even as his country deemed him a fugitive. Yet, this beacon shines more brightly today, than ever before. Fred was among the Americans of Japanese heritage ordered to report to World War II internment camps in 1942. He defied that order, because he believed that his liberty and the rights of his family and community had been violated by the forced internment order, given without evidence, specific charges, or a trial. His entire life, Fred lived by an unshakable belief of doing that which is right. We must build on Fred’s courage and continue the fight to ensure that all Americans, all humans, have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness— only in doing so, will we achieve our more perfect union.”
- Senator Mazie Hirono (HI): “Last February, a class of Hawaii students sent letters to Governor Abercrombie calling for state recognition of Fred Korematsu Day. Thanks to their efforts, today is Hawaii’s first official celebration of Korematsu’s courage in the face of discrimination. Korematsu fought for his basic civil rights at a time when his Japanese American ethnicity made the U.S. government question his loyalty. I’m proud to have known Fred and his family, and am encouraged to see his pursuit for justice continues to inspire new generations of leaders. I hope people in Hawaii will attend one of the various events commemorating Korematsu’s legacy.”
- Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01): “I continue to find inspiration in the example of Fred Korematsu. While it is easy today to think of him as a symbol, we cannot forget that he was also a man who stood strong against injustice; he showed uncommon personal strength and was an outstanding American. Mr. Korematsu continues to illustrate both the dangers we face as a nation when we succumb to our fears, and the power of a single committed individual to remind us of our duty to all Americans. His story demonstrates that we must be willing to be judged by how we treat the least powerful among us, those without a voice, and whose interests differ from those of the majority.”
- Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06): “Fred Korematsu was a true American patriot whose story embodies the finest values and aspirations of our country. During one of the darkest periods of our history, Fred Korematsu’s uncommon courage and unwavering conviction to fighting for justice taught us the value of never giving up. Today, as California observes Fred Korematsu Day, we honor his legacy and go forward with a renewed commitment to justice, equality, and the courage to speak the truth.”
- Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41): “As a Japanese-American whose immediate family was affected by the Japanese imprisonment during WWII, it is with great pride that I commemorate the third annual Fred Korematsu Day. Fred’s commitment towards justice and freedom during one of America’s dark periods is a prime example of courage, which resonates deeply with the Japanese-American community. Let us never forget Fred’s bold actions and continue to fight for equality and civil rights for all.”
- Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40): “Today Californians come together to remember Fred Korematsu, a Japanese American who stood up for civil rights during the U.S. imprisonment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Fred Korematsu’s inspirational story reminds us of the ongoing fight for civil rights in our country and the need to stand up for the rights of everyone in our communities.”
- Fred Korematsu Day is the first day in U.S. history named after an Asian American. During World War II, Fred Korematsu refused to relocate to an internment camp under President Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, which mandated the mass roundup and incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans on the West Coast. He was eventually arrested and interned in May of 1942. Korematsu worked with the American Civil Liberties Union to challenge his case, ultimately taking it to the Supreme Court. Although unsuccessful at the time, he cleared his name in 1983 – more than four decades after first being detained. This year is the third year celebrating Fred Korematsu Day and three states are acknowledging January 30th statewide: California, Hawaii, and Utah. In 2010, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed AB1775, creating “Fred Korematsu Day” as a permanent day of special significance, when schools around the state are encouraged to teach Mr. Korematsu’s story and protect the civil liberties of all people. Last year, the governor of Hawaii declared January 30, 2013 as Fred Korematsu Day in Hawaii. Earlier this month, Utah Governor Gary Herbert declared January 30, 2013 as Fred Korematsu Day in Utah, the state where Mr. Korematsu was interned during World War II.
The high levels of Latino support for Obama were in line with expectations. The myriad preelection polls from Latino Decisions, the Pew Hispanic Center and many others pointed toward an overwhelming Latino majority in support of the president.
But the fact that nearly three out of every four Asian Americans voted for Obama caught most pundits by surprise. Moreover, Asian Americans, who voted in record numbers in 2008, appear to have mobilized an even higher turnout in 2012. Asian Americans are no longer a swing vote or a crouching tiger in the electorate; their political stripes are now distinctly Democratic blue.
Many people have begun to ask: Why are Asian Americans so Democratic, and how did they get that way? These questions take on greater intrigue when we look at exit poll data over the last two decades. Asian Americans have demonstrated the biggest shift in their presidential voting preferences of any demographic group, whether by race, gender or age. They doubled their vote share for the Democratic candidate, from 31% in 1992 to 62% in 2008, and voted even more Democratic in 2012 (73%).
As political scientists who have analyzed Asian American politics for more than a decade and collaborated on two of the most exhaustive and sustained surveys of Asian American politics in 2008 and 2012, we have some explanations for this dramatic shift.
Source: Los Angeles Times
George Takei shares how far the AAPI community has come and why you should get involved in this election to help re-elect President Obama.
“President Obama has delivered from Day One: access to affordable health care, the ability to pursue the American dream, and most importantly, creating jobs. In the last four years, the lives of people in my life have gotten better because of the policies that President Obama has implemented for the middle class—my sister, for example, just graduated and she can now stay on our parents’ health care.
“We intend to mobilize in our Asian American community—in a key battleground state like Virginia, our community could be the margin of victory. We’ll work really hard to make sure the President wins.”
—Linh from Fairfax, Virginia, waits to see President Obama at today’s event
“President Obama shares the values that my parents prize”
By Shang Wang | AAPI Vote Intern Obama for America
Eighteen years ago, after a 15 hour flight across the world, my parents stepped onto American soil for the first time. Searching for a better life for themselves and for me, they used doors of opportunity opened by education to come to the United States. Life certainly wasn’t easy as they settled into a tiny apartment in Queens, a land of foreign people, customs, and languages. In those first few years, both had to work multiple jobs with exhausting hours to scrape by.
But through their schooling, they earned better and better jobs and slowly but surely, they realized the American dream. Life is much more comfortable for them today, but they have never forgotten their humble roots and how education jump-started their lives in America.
President Obama shares the values that my parents prize, and has turned those values into actions. He recently signed into law a bill that will prevent college loan interest rates from skyrocketing. He has also expanded Pell Grants to benefit 40,000 more AAPI students by 2020, increased funding for programs to help AAPI students with limited English proficiency, and in 2011, through the American Opportunity Tax Credit, he provided relief to 9.4 million families with college students
My parents, like so many other AAPIs, arrived in this country with big dreams—dreams that would never have come true without the opportunities education provided. The President is keeping these dreams alive for a new generation.
The President has our interests at heart, and he needs our support. Register to vote, and join Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for Obama to work with us to re-elect the President. With your help, we can make sure that quality education—a core value of the AAPI community—is protected and advanced.
We’re building the AAPI for Obama community every day — and now, there’s a special new tool that’ll help people in our communities get ready to vote.
If you don’t have a Dashboard account already, it will take only a couple seconds to get you up and running.
Dashboard is a brand new way to organize, coordinate, and reach out at the grassroots level. We can make calls, organize house parties and canvasses, and check in as a team to plan our next steps. I hope you and fellow AAPI supporters of the President can help roll it out.
We have a unique role to play in this election, and now we have the tools to make sure our community has President Obama’s back once voting starts. So join us on Dashboard today, and let’s start putting this new field office to work.