Dr. Karen Korematsu is the Founder and Executive Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute and the daughter of the late civil rights icon, Fred Korematsu. Since her father’s passing in 2005, Karen has carried on his legacy as a public speaker, educator and civil rights advocate. She shares her father’s passion for social justice and education and in 2009 established the Fred T. Korematsu Institute to advance racial equity, social justice and human rights for all. The Institute’s work has expanded from K-12 civic education to promoting Public civic engagement and participation. Karen crisscrosses the country speaking to audiences from Kindergarten to Judges and inspiring and promoting Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution of January 30.
Karen’s work extends to advocating civil liberties and social justice for all communities and addresses current issues that draws upon lessons of the past. She has presented to Teachers College Columbia University, NY, New York and since 2012, the National and State Councils for the Social Studies and was Co-chair of the Annual National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) Conference, 2017.
She has signed on to amicus briefs in several cases opposing violations of constitutional rights arising after 9/11, including Odah v. United States, Turkman v. Ashcroft, Hedges v. Obama, and Hassan v. City of New York and Hawaii v. Trump in 2018.
In 2015, Karen was inducted as the first non-lawyer member of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. She serves on the board of directors of Advancing Justice-AAJC and NAPABA Law Foundation. Karen has been interviewed on radio, podcasts and TV. Her Op/Ed’s have appeared in the NY Times and Washington Post. Karen has received numerous awards and honors including GMNY 2015 Isidore Starr Award, Muslim Advocates-Voice of Freedom Award; the “Key to the City of Dearborn, Michigan”; and the ACLU-Chief Justice Earl Warren Civil Liberties Award. In May 2019, Karen received the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) Community Leadership Award, Washington, DC.
Karen received her first honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from St. Michael’s College in Burlington, Vermont in May 2019. By invitation: University of CA, Berkeley, School of Law for CA Law Review- Published essay: Karen Korematsu, L.H.D., Carrying on Korematsu: Reflections on my Father’s Legacy, WOMEN & LAW, page 95, (2020) (joint publication of the top sixteen law reviews).