LANSING — House Democratic Leader state Rep. Sam Singh (D-East Lansing) and state Rep. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) have introduced a bill and resolution, respectively, that would commemorate the efforts of former Detroit resident Fred Korematsu. During World War II, as many as 120,000 Japanese Americans were placed in internment camps. Korematsu, seeing this policy directly violated the constitution, refused to relocate and brought his fight against Japanese internment camps to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

“Fred Korematsu was brave enough to take action against the terrible injustice inflicted on him and thousands of others who were placed in internment camps during World War II,” Rep. Singh said. “He took his fight to the highest court in the land because he believed America should live up to the ideals set forth in the Constitution. We honor Fred Korematsu and his fight against racial discrimination and injustice, which are as important to our democracy today as they were in his time.”

Singh’s House Bill 4110 would establish Fred Korematsu Day in Michigan to be commemorated each year on Jan. 30, Korematsu’s birthday. Rep. Chang’s House Resolution 11 calls for Jan. 30, 2017, to be declared Fred Korematsu Day in Michigan. At least two other states honor Korematsu on Jan. 30 of each year. It makes sense to add Michigan to that list, as Korematsu lived in Detroit between the end of World War II and 1949, when he returned to his native California. While in Michigan, he worked as a draftsman and married his wife, Kathryn.

“Heroes like Fred Korematsu need to be recognized because whether it’s February 1942 or January 2017, it takes an enormous amount of courage for any individual to stand up against and defy unjust and un-American executive orders targeting entire groups of people based on their ethnicity or country of origin,” Rep. Chang said. “Especially with the announcements from Washington, D.C., this week, we need to celebrate Fred Korematsu and heed the lessons he taught us about standing up for what is right.”