Professor Lori Bannai honored for work in reopening Japanese internment cases

Professor Lori Bannai was honored with a Spirit of Justice award in recognition of her work in challenging Fred Korematsu's conviction for refusing to comply with orders that resulted in the World War II internment of Japanese Americans.

Bannai, who serves as associate director of the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality at the School of Law, and other members of the Korematsu coram nobis legal team, received the award at the dedication of the Pinedale Assembly Center Memorial in Fresno, Calif. The memorial commemorates one of the sites that held Japanese Americans prior to their removal to internment camps, and the awards were made out of the wood from the last remaining barrack at the Pinedale Assembly Center.

The award presentation on Feb. 15 was part of the Japanese American Citizens League Tri-District Conference "Internment and Redress Remembered." At the conference accompanying the dedication, Bannai took part in a panel with the coram nobis attorneys discussing the Japanese American internment cases and their present day relevance.

Bannai is working on a biography of Korematsu and has been instrumental in developing the center named for him, which will study and combat discrimination through research, advocacy and education projects.

The Korematsu Center will formally launch Saturday, April 18.