January 19, 2023
After the Korematsu Day Teach-In at Rutgers Law School in Newark. Pictured: Prof. Jack Tchen, Prof. Ron Chen, Co-Dean Rose Cuison-Villazor, Prof. Chris M. Kwok, and APALSA Co-President Jasmine Lee

UPDATE: On January 30, 2023, Governor Phil Murphy signed the joint resolution that established January 30 of each year as "Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution in New Jersey." On the same day, Rutgers Law School held its first Korematsu Day teach-in, which was hosted by Rutgers APALSA; the Clement A. Price Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, & the Modern Experience; and the Rutgers Center for Immigration Law, Policy, and Justice.

Karen Korematsu and students (spring 2022)
Dr. Karen Korematsu, Founder and Executive Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute, with Rutgers Law students on April 13, 2022. On the flag are the names of some of the Japanese Americans who were incarcerated during WWII.

By Rutgers Law Co-Dean Rose Cuison-Villazor and Phil Tajitsu Nash (RLAW '82)

On Dec. 19, 2022, the New Jersey Senate passed NJ Assembly Joint Resolution 98, a bill to establish January 30 of each year as “Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution of New Jersey.” The bill previously passed the NJ State Assembly last February 28th, so it now goes to Gov. Phil Murphy for his signature. While state and local entities such as California, Florida, and New York City have held their own celebrations of Fred Korematsu before, the first New Jersey state-wide celebration of Korematsu, civil liberties and the Constitution will take place on Jan. 30, 2023.

While Korematsu never lived in New Jersey, his case is part of a decades-long struggle by the nation’s Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community to have its history reflected in K-12 classrooms, college curricula, the legal academy, and the legal profession. For example, in April 2022, Rutgers Law School and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) provided a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) program focused on ways that lawyers of any background could address the ongoing scourge of anti-Asian violence.

Fred Korematsu
The late Fred Korematsu (Photo: U.S. National Park Service)

Since the 1940s, every law student has heard Korematsu’s name because of his landmark Supreme Court case, but not all know the back story that has led to a nation-wide movement, spearheaded by the Fred T. Korematsu Institute in California, to have every state honor him on his January 30th birthday.

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Rutgers Law Media Contact:
Shanida Carter

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