Van Hollen, Hirono Renew Efforts to Award Fred Korematsu the Congressional Gold Medal
Civil Rights Advocate Led Legal Fight Against Illegal Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II
Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) joined Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Representative Mark Takano (D-Calif.) in introducing bicameral legislation to award Fred Korematsu the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of his legacy of fighting against the illegal incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II and for being a staunch defender of civil rights.
Senators Van Hollen and Hirono and Representative Takano first introduced legislation to award Fred Korematsu the Congressional Gold Medal in 2019.
In 1942, at the age of 23, Fred Korematsu was arrested and convicted for refusing to enter the internment camps for Japanese Americans. After his arrest, he appealed his case all the way to the Supreme Court, which upheld his conviction based on military necessity. After 40 years, on November 10, 1983, Korematsu’s criminal conviction was vacated in a federal court in San Francisco. Korematsu remained a civil rights advocate throughout his life and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Bill Clinton in 1998. He passed away on March 30, 2005 at the age of 86.
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