Karen Korematsu, the founder and executive director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute, will be Salem College’s commencement speaker on Saturday, May 19, 2018.
“We are honored that Karen Korematsu has accepted our invitation to speak at the 2018 Salem College Commencement,” President D. E. Lorraine Sterritt said. “We very much look forward to welcoming such a distinguished guest to our campus.”
Ms. Korematsu is the daughter of the late Fred T. Korematsu and the founder and executive director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute. She shares her father’s passion for social justice and education, and since his passing in 2005, Ms. Korematsu has carried on her father’s legacy as a public speaker, educator, and civil rights advocate. In 2009, on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the reversal of Fred Korematsu’s World War II United States Supreme Court conviction, she established the Fred T. Korematsu Institute to advance racial equity, social justice, and human rights. In May 2013, Ms. Korematsu became executive director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute and led its transition in July 2014 to become an independent organization.
Ms. Korematsu’s work and her father’s legacy extend to advocating for civil liberties for all communities, and she addresses current issues that draw lessons from the past. She has signed on to amicus briefs in several cases opposing violations of constitutional rights arising after September 11, 2001, and she is the author of the forward to Patriot Acts: Narratives of Post-9/11 Injustice, published in 2011. She speaks to public and private schools, colleges and universities, law schools, teachers’ conferences, and other organizations across the country. She has been interviewed on radio and television and in print.
Ms. Korematsu is a lead member of the National Advisory Boards of both the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality at Seattle University School of Law and the Fred T. Korematsu Professor of Law and Social Justice at the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai’i at Manoa. In 2013, she was appointed an advisory member to the California Task Force on K-12 Civic Learning. She is a current board member for Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC) in Washington, DC and a former member of the Boards of Directors for both Marin Ballet and Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus. In 2015, Ms. Korematsu was invited to be the first non-lawyer member of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). She has received numerous awards and honors including the Muslim Advocates’ Voice of Freedom Award and the key to the city of Dearborn, Michigan.