OU Law to host documentary screening, panel discussion on Japanese-American internment in WWII

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College of Law (copy)

University of Oklahoma College of Law May 29.

Three OU Law student organizations will hold a screening and panel discussion next week for a documentary highlighting the WWII internment of Japanese-Americans.

The American Constitution Society, the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association and the Native American Law Students Association are showing the documentary of “And Then They Came For Us,” at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 7 in the Dick Bell Courtroom at OU Law after a statement from interim OU President Joseph Harroz, according to a press release.

The event will also include a discussion afterward with Karen Korematsu, founder and executive director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute and daughter of civil rights activist Fred Korematsu, the plaintiff in the landmark supreme court decision Korematsu v. United States, according to the release.

Fred Korematsu’s case began in 1942 when he ignored President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s authorization of the forced removal and incarceration of all Japanese-Americans on the west coast, according to the press release. Korematsu later appealed his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which was denied due to military necessity according to the press release, but his conviction was later vacated in 1983. He also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998 before his death in 2005.

The panel will also feature and Don Tamaki, an attorney who served on the pro bono team that persuaded a district court to vacate Fred Korematsu’s after the Supreme Court upheld it, and OU Law professors Taiawagi Helto and Rick Tepker.

The panel will discuss today’s relevance of the detainment of Japanese-American soldiers at Fort Sill and the detainment of Native Americans before them, according to the press release.

“We are honored to host Dr. Korematsu and Mr. Tamaki, who, along with members of our faculty, will engage our students and the wider community on how the issues of profiling marginalized populations – and speaking out against injustice – are just as important today as they were then,” said interim OU Law Dean Katheleen Guzman in a press release.

The event is free and open to the public. Oklahoma attorneys who attend can receive two hours of general continuing legal education credit, according to the release.

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