Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Passing of Asian American Civil Rights Pioneer Gordon Hirabayashi and the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012

I juxtaposed a press release sent by NYC Comptroller Liu with a recent clip discussing the recent National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (S.1867 Bill 93.7). The press release pays respect to Mr. Gordon Hirabayashi, an Asian American who recently passed away. Through civil disobedience he challenged the internment of Asian Americans during WWII. The clip posted from Freedom Watch with Judge Napolitano discusses the recent bill that passed in the US Senate related to preventive detention of American Citizens deemed to be a threat to the United States. Someone once said the more things change the more they stay the same. Let's hope men like Mr. Hirabyashi come forward during this generation to make sure our civil liberties remain intact if/when we start seeing military personnel arresting Amercan Citizens on American soil without due process. Is there dissent against this bill by readers out there?


NEW YORK, NY – City Comptroller John C. Liu today stated the following on the death of Asian American civil rights icon Gordon Hirabayashi:

“With the passing of noted professor Gordon Hirabayashi, we have lost a champion for civil rights and a distinguished American. Dr. Hirabayashi, along with the late Minoru Yasui and Fred Korematsu, are the Rosa Parks of Asian American & Pacific Islander history. Their cases symbolize dark and painful chapters in American history, of government-sanctioned discrimination and explicit denials of equal protection. They fought with conviction all the way to the Supreme Court and beyond to challenge the denial of our rights. Dr. Hirabayashi was in his 20's when he challenged the removal of Japanese Americans to internment camps during World War II and was jailed. Decades later, Dr. Hirabayashi’s conviction was overturned – vindicating his belief that the Constitution protects all Americans.

"Our thoughts are with Dr. Hirabayashi's siblings, children and friends during this difficult time. We hope they will find some solace and strength in their memories of Dr. Hirabayashi and the assurance that his legacy continues.”

Dr. Hirabayashi, while a student at the University of Washington, intentionally defied the discriminatory curfew law imposed on Americans of Japanese descent. Hirabayashi v. United States (1943), coupled with Yasui v. United States (1943), made it to United States Supreme Court, which held that the curfew laws for members of a specific minority group were constitutional. Shortly thereafter in Korematsu v. United States (1944), the Supreme Court ruled the Japanese internment camps were also constitutional.


Segment from Freedom Watch with Judge Napolitano

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