Recap of the Fred Korematsu Day Film Screening and Panel Discussion:

Date: Feb 09, 2016

In case you missed it, here’s a recap of the Fred Korematsu Day Film Screening and Panel Discussion:

Moderator: Katherine Rivera, ILS President

Sponsors: National Lawyers Guild, Immigration Law Society, American Constitution Society, Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, Muslim Law Students Association

The purpose of the panel was to honor national civil rights hero Fred T. Korematsu. In 1942, at the age of 23, he refused to go to the 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.

Attendees watched a documentary about the Korematsu Supreme Court case and speakers discussed the history of Japanese-American internment and how that experience relates to current events in the U.S. post-9/11 treatment of Arabs and those perceived to be Muslim, and in police violence against black youth today.

The four panelists included:

  • Bill Yoshino, Midwest Director, Japanese American Citizens League
  • Sufyan Sohel, Deputy Director, Council on American-Islamic Relations Chicago
  • Shubra Ohri, People’s Law Office
  • Enoch Kanaya, Minidoka Concentration Camp survivor

Some highlights from the panel:

  • The Japanese-American community was one of the first to stand in solidarity with South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh people who were targets of ongoing racism after 9/11. This solidarity now extends to emerging reform movements like “undocumented and unafraid” youth and Black Lives Matter.
  • Despite securing reparations for Chicago police torture victims, systematic fatal pursuits of black men by police continue.
  • The state has done little to combat racism against Muslims as exemplified through rhetoric about Syrian refugees, special registration program, police profiling, and constant surveillance of Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim.
  • What can law students do? Vote, vote, vote! Engage your legislators at the local level  and participate in the national conversation about race.