File #: Res 0792-2015    Version: Name: Establishing January 30 annually as Fred T. Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution.
Type: Resolution Status: Adopted
Committee: Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations
On agenda: 7/23/2015
Enactment date: Law number:
Title: Resolution establishing January 30 annually as Fred T. Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution.
Sponsors: Daniel Dromm , Margaret S. Chin, Peter A. Koo, Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Corey D. Johnson, Karen Koslowitz, Ben Kallos, Mark Treyger, Donovan J. Richards, Rafael Salamanca, Jr., Vincent J. Gentile, Andy L. King, Costa G. Constantinides, Daniel R. Garodnick, Stephen T. Levin, Rafael L. Espinal, Jr., Barry S. Grodenchik, Helen K. Rosenthal, Rosie Mendez, Chaim M. Deutsch, Brad S. Lander, Carlos Menchaca, Annabel Palma, James Vacca, Mark Levine, Deborah L. Rose, Antonio Reynoso, Ritchie J. Torres, Ydanis A. Rodriguez, Robert E. Cornegy, Jr., I. Daneek Miller, Rory I. Lancman, Bill Perkins, Eric A. Ulrich, Joseph C. Borelli
Council Member Sponsors: 35
Attachments: 1. Committee Report 10/25/17, 2. Hearing Testimony 10/25/17, 3. Hearing Transcript 10/25/17, 4. Proposed Res. No. 792-A - 11/27/17, 5. Committee Report 12/18/17, 6. Hearing Transcript 12/18/17, 7. December 19, 2017 - Stated Meeting Agenda with Links to Files, 8. Hearing Transcript - Stated Meeting 12-19-17

Res. No. 792-A


Resolution establishing January 30 annually as Fred T. Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution.


By Council Members Dromm, Chin, Koo, Ferreras-Copeland, Johnson, Koslowitz, Kallos, Treyger, Richards, Salamanca, Gentile, King, Constantinides, Garodnick, Levin, Espinal, Grodenchik,  Rosenthal, Mendez, Deutsch, Lander, Menchaca, Palma, Vacca, Levine, Rose, Reynoso, Torres, Rodriguez, Cornegy, Miller, Lancman, Perkins, Ulrich and Borelli


                     Whereas, Fred T. Korematsu was born on January 30, 1919 in Oakland, California, a child of Japanese immigrants; and

                     Whereas, In February 1942, shortly after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, authorizing the Secretary of War to exclude any or all residents from certain geographic areas and authorizing federal authorities to provide transportation, shelter and other accommodations for excluded or displaced residents; and

                     Whereas, With that authority, the U.S. Army issued orders excluding more than 100,000 people of Japanese descent, including many U.S. citizens, from areas on the West Coast and requiring them to report to internment camps; and

                     Whereas, Those orders included Exclusion Order 34, which as of May 1942 barred “all persons of Japanese ancestry, both alien and non-alien” from an area near San Francisco Bay and which required Japanese Americans to report to a Civilian Control Center from which they were sent to detention centers and internment camps; and

Whereas, Korematsu, a resident of that exclusion zone refused to report and was convicted of violating Exclusion Order 34, sentenced to five years of probation, and ultimately sent to an internment camp in Utah; and 

Whereas, Korematsu challenged the constitutionality of his conviction all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld the exclusion order as a wartime measure and affirmed his conviction; and

Whereas, In the early 1980s, the federal Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians concluded that Executive Order 9066 “was not justified by military necessity, and the decisions which followed from it-detention, ending detention and ending exclusion-were not driven by analysis of military conditions” but instead by “race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership,” and that “[a] grave injustice was done to American citizens and resident aliens of Japanese ancestry”; and

Whereas, In April 1984, a federal district court in California vacated Korematsu’s conviction, finding “substantial” evidence that the government had “deliberately omitted relevant information and provided misleading information” to the court in prosecuting and convicting Korematsu; and

Whereas, Korematsu remained an activist throughout his life, fighting for reparations for those who had been interned during World War II and speaking out after September 11, 2001 against discrimination, violence and detention based on race, religion and ethnicity; and

Whereas, In 1998, President Bill Clinton awarded Korematsu the Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor; and

Whereas, Exclusion orders subjected New York City residents of Japanese descent, including American Citizens, to house arrest, imprisonment on Ellis Island, relocation to distant parts of the U.S., and/or deportation from the U.S.; and

Whereas, Many other internment-camp survivors eventually settled in New York-more than 1,100 out of roughly 30,000 people who relocated from the camps before January 1, 1945 and whose movements could later be traced came to New York State-and these survivors contributed to the development of the Japanese American community in New York City; and

Whereas, Korematsu’s courage in fighting for justice and civil liberties furthered the cause of equality for Asian Americans and made him an inspiration to those in New York City and across the country; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York establishes January 30 annually as Fred T. Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution.


LS #4094