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Public invited to celebration, reading for Korematsu Day

By From page A3 | January 28, 2014

Fred Korematsu with medalW

Fred Korematsu proudly shows off his Presidential Medial of Freedom, awarded by President Bill Clinton. Korematsu died in 2005 at the age of 86. Photo courtesy of Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education

Families affiliated with Korematsu Elementary School and people from the Davis community are invited to attend the school’s annual celebration of California’s Fred T. Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution.

The event will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Korematsu Elementary, 3100 Loyola Drive in Davis. It is the climactic finish to the school’s monthlong study of civil rights and showcases studies in and understanding of social climate issues.

Performances will include songs and poems presented by the kindergarten and transitional kindergarten classes, and a song sung by second- and third-graders.

There also will be a panel discussion about life in the World War II internment camps and changes since then.

Fred T. Korematsu, for whom the school is named, fought a decades-long court battle challenging the legal basis for the internment of Japanese-Americans during the war. The panel will include representatives who either lived in the internment camps themselves or are descendants of those who did. The interview will be led by Korematsu sixth-graders, and the questions posed to the panel have been drafted by the Korematsu classes and will be read by students.

The evening also will include a reading by author Loriene Honda, a psychologist and Davis resident who will present portions of her newly published book for young readers, “The Cat Who Chose to Dream,” which deals with the internment camp experience.

Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, D-Davis, will recognize Honda on the Assembly floor on Thursday. Honda will be accompanied by her father, Lawrence Honda, who was interned at the Manzanar War Relocation Center during World War II. Yamada’s family members also were Manzanar internees.

There will be an opportunity to meet Honda and the panelists at a reception after Thursday evening’s presentations.

According to Wes Hardaker of the Korematsu Parent Teacher Organization, “everyone attending will learn more about an important piece of our nation’s history through a student-led celebration.”

Jeff Hudson

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