Karen Korematsu, founder and executive director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute, and daughter of the late civil rights icon, will deliver the 2021 Peter Chase Neumann Lecture on Civil Justice at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law on March 24.
Korematsu will discuss why her father's fight for justice was a fight for all Americans, and what his message would be if he were living today. Topics will include her father's background, why his controversial U.S. Supreme Court case decision has been cited frequently over the past 75 years, and Dr. Korematsu's campaign for the State of Arizona to establish "Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution" on January 30 in perpetuity.
Fred T. Korematsu was a national civil rights hero. In 1942, at 23 years old, he refused to go to the United States government's incarceration camps for Japanese Americans. After he was arrested and convicted of defying the government's order, he appealed his case all the way to the Supreme Court. In 1944, the Supreme Court ruled against him, arguing that the incarceration was justified due to military necessity. The decision in Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214 (1944) was widely criticized and has been repudiated by modern courts. In 1983, Korematsu's conviction was overturned in a federal court in San Francisco. It was a pivotal moment in civil rights history.
When: Wednesday, March 24, 2021, 5:30-6:45 p.m. (PST)
Who may attend: This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required.
About Karen Korematsu
Since her father's passing in 2005, Karen Korematsu has carried on his legacy as a public speaker, educator and civil rights advocate. She shares her father's passion for social justice and education and in 2009 established the Fred T. Korematsu Institute to advance racial equity, social justice and human rights for all. The Institute's work has expanded from K-12 civic education to promoting public civic engagement and participation.
Her work extends to advocating civil liberties for all communities and addresses current issues that draws upon lessons of the past.
Korematsu has signed on to amicus briefs in several cases opposing violations of constitutional rights arising after 9/11, including Odah v. United States, Turkman v. Ashcroft, Hedges v. Obama, and Hassan v. City of New York and recently, Hawaii v. Trump.
In 2015, she was inducted as the first non-lawyer member of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. Korematsu serves on the board of directors of Advancing Justice-AAJC and NAPABA Law Foundation. Korematsu has received numerous awards and honors including GMNY 2015 Isidore Starr Award, Muslim Advocates-Voice of Freedom Award; the "Key to the City of Dearborn, Michigan"; and the ACLU-Chief Justice Earl Warren Civil Liberties Award. Most recently, Korematsu received the Community Leadership Award from the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies in Washington, D.C. and her first honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from St. Michael's College in Burlington, Vermont.
About the Peter Chase Neumann Lecture
The Peter Chase Neumann Lecture on Civil Justice is part of Arizona Law's Civil Justice Initiative, which seeks to elevate the American civil justice system and train the next generation of great trial lawyers.
The lecture series began in 2013, with past speakers including Thomas Girardi, Patrick J. McGroder, Richard Fried and Randi McGinn. University of Arizona Law alumnus Peter Chase Neumann (’64) endowed the lecture in 2016.