SAN FRANCISCO — Karen Korematsu, daughter of the late Fred Korematsu and executive director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute in San Francisco, issued the following statement on April 23.


In May 2013, we announced together that The Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education was taking its first steps to transition into an independent entity after being a program of Asian Americans Advancing Justice–Asian Law Caucus for four years.

We completed the first part of that transition last year, with the Korematsu Institute officially becoming an independent organization fiscally sponsored by Community Initiatives.

korematsu institute logoSince 1996, Community Initiatives has worked with individuals and groups to incubate new nonprofit ideas through fiscal sponsorship. This allows community-benefit projects a way to test and refine their ideas without having to incorporate and obtain tax-exempt status on their own.

We also simplified our name. The Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education will now formally be known as The Fred T. Korematsu Institute.

The Fred T. Korematsu Institute remembers, instructs, and honors Americans who have suffered from prejudice, discrimination and civil rights injustices (particularly the Japanese Americans who were interned during World War II).

The institute works to keep these lessons alive so students can better understand their civil rights and civil liberties and use the Korematsu story as a concrete reference in linking the story of the Japanese American incarceration during World War II to the more well-known stories of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Cesar Chavez.

Karen will continue to serve as executive director, and the Korematsu Institute’s new advisory committee will include Peggy Saika, Debbie Ching, Evan Goldberg, Steele Willinger, and Keith Kamisugi, who will chair the committee. This advisory committee will serve some of the roles usually performed by a nonprofit board of directors.

We would like to thank the Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus Board of Directors and staff for their support and assistance in giving the Korematsu Institute a home and helping to establish itself as an education organization. In particular, we would like to express our profound thanks to Executive Director Chris Punongbayan for all his work, encouragement and guidance in helping us with the transition.

You can help the Korematsu Institute at this critical moment of growth with your contributions ( Nonprofits that start off with a strong base of individual donors have a better chance of long-term success. And you get to be part of a new chapter of the Korematsu Institute.

Also we need your donations in helping us send free of charge our Korematsu Institute Teaching Kits to any elementary, middle and high teacher nationwide. Teachers can sign up on our website:

And support the Korematsu Institute on Twitter (@Korematsu) and on Facebook (

Thank you again for your continued support and honoring Fred Korematsu’s legacy of “Standing up for what is right.” The Fred T. Korematsu Institute is excited about this new phase and looks forward to sharing updates on our progress as we grow.

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