Daniel Ellsberg will keynote the 8th annual Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution commemoration on January 28, 2018, at the University of California, Berkeley’s Wheeler Hall.
Organized by the Fred T. Korematsu Institute, this event remembers the life of civil rights activist Fred Korematsu and recognizes the 76th Anniversary of Executive Order 9066, which authorized the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, including Korematsu.
Ellsberg is the author of The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner. In 1971, he released the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret Pentagon study of U.S. government decision-making in relation to the Vietnam War.
In those documents, it was revealed that the government had knowledge that the war could most likely not be won and that the President had lied to the public and to Congress.
Ellsberg’s commitment to the truth and “standing up for what is right,” serves as the storyline of Steven Spielberg’s The Post, a political thriller that chronicles how The Washington Post defied the Nixon administration to publish the Pentagon Papers.
Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution in California is the first statewide holiday in U.S. history to celebrate an Asian American. Fred Korematsu Day has also been established in perpetuity for Hawaii, Virginia, Florida, and New York City.
Korematsu was wrongfully jailed in 1942 when he defied Executive Order 9066 and refused to be sent to an American prison camp. Korematsu took legal action and, with the help of the ACLU, challenged the constitutionality of the government’s actions.
In Korematsu v. United States, the US Supreme Court rubber-stamped the government argument, which was based on falsehoods and fabrications, and held that the wartime incarceration of American citizens of Japanese descent was constitutional.
Later upon discovery of the government misconduct, abuse and suppression of evidence, his federal conviction was overturned in 1983. Korematsu spent the rest of his life as an activist and advocate for civil rights. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998 from President Clinton.
The event will take place at Wheeler Hall at the University of California, Berkeley from 2:00-3:30 PM. Tickets to the event are free for students thanks to the generous sponsors. $15 for teachers and seniors; $25 for general admission.
The event is sponsored by Covington & Burling LLP, International Assignee Services and MTYKL Foundation.