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Honoring Fred Korematsu Day

I’d like to share some of my views on Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution. California created this special day, held every January 30, posthumously for Fred T. Korematsu. It is also celebrated in Hawaii and a number of other states. The Day commemorates Fred Korematsu’s birthday and his contributions as a Japanese American civil rights activist. It recognizes his contributions in fighting the injustice of Japanese interment during World War II, but in general recognizing civil liberties under the U.S. Constitution.

Manzanar War Relocation Center, California was the internment camp for Japanese Americans during World War 2.

Background and Context

In Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214 (1944), the Supreme Court sided with the U.S. government in upholding Executive Order 9066. An order that forced Japanese Americans into internment camps during World War II regardless of citizenship. The Korematsu case decision showed how deeply ingrained racism was and still is in our government and society. Racial profiling and the stripping of citizens of their civil liberties is not gone from the American experience. This conversation is still going on as we can see in today’s politics and news.

For example, author Lily Rothman poignantly observes in her Time’s article that knowing the history of Japanese internment matters a great deal. While the internment of Japanese Americans took place nearly 80 years ago, the themes of racial exclusion and stigma still linger today.

Therefore, I think I should share some of my views on this matter so you can understand the value’s of the firm and the kind of law that we practice.

This is a monument to Japanese interred at Manazar.

 

Words of Ryan K. Hew

I am sure people are wondering what impact does Fred Korematsu day have to do with a business attorney. Isn’t business law all about contracts or stymieing people’s rights in transactions?  I would probably respond that: (a) that nearly 90% of businesses in the U.S. are small businesses (20 workers or less); and (b) the government tramples the rights of the business owners as it did with the Japanese Americans during internment.  Japanese American business owners were forced out of business and into the camps. Nowadays, many immigrant business owners fear the law or lack access to legal assistance.

None of this is new, making Fred Korematsu Day an important symbol to remember and continue his legacy. I was a history major during my undergraduate days and even prior to the events of World War II and the unjust internment of Japanese Americans I learned about the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. This was one of the first major pieces of U.S. law to restrict immigration. Similar to today’s arguments on immigration, the Act was born out of fear of Chinese workers. Fears of them causing unemployment, depressing wages, and bringing other problems due to their ethnicity. The law acted to effectively ban Chinese immigration into the United States and prevent them from becoming U.S. citizens.  For me, this other dark piece of history is no different than the Japanese internment. It represents laws based on fear and bias.

Japanese Americas were forced to close their businesses and relocated to the internment camps.

My Personal History and Connection to What I Do

For me, reading about this history from as an undergraduate to a law student, did have personal relevance. My mother always told me stories of how my grandfather owned a popular shop in Chinatown Honolulu. However, unfortunately cancer took him at an early age. Soon after, my widowed grandmother was exploited due to her lack of English and inability to understand the law. Eventually she lost the business and much more due to the loss of income. To me the U.S. government forcing Japanese Americans from their homes and businesses was no different. Both scenarios arose out of the lack of justice and exploitation of the law. This is why I launched my own practice, why I enjoy educating small business owners with a variety of backgrounds on their business rights, and why I do pro bono with the Business Law Corps, whose motto is lawyers for economic justice, at the Patsy T. Mink Center for Business and Leadership.  The fight for civil liberties also means giving people fair chance at starting and owning their own business.

Final Words

I would like to extend my appreciation and thanks to Fred T. Korematsu and the Fred T. Korematsu Institute for continuing his legacy. At the firm I’m with, we fight for individual rights, economic justice, and civil liberties in our own way. Fred Korematsu Day highlights the need for us to remember and educate. Thank you for reading this post.

Social Media and the Law: Miscellany

Aloha everyone, as I have covered most of the primary topics that I wanted to regarding Social Media in the Law over the past two months I will be transitioning back to Laws in the Brief.  I will be focusing of course on new laws that the Hawaii state government has passed into law this past session.  Of course I will also be bringing you my silly doodles to help small business owners and entrepreneurs grasp legal concepts.
However, as we all know social media does not sleep and the law tries to keep up as best as it can to changes and innovations in society.   Since I find the topic interesting I will strive to share updates and various information when I find something where the two subjects intersect (or collide).  Seeing as I already missed my posting window let’s get to . . .

Social Media and the Law: Miscellany

Mo. Teachers Want More Online Options

In Missouri, the Teachers Association is suing over a new law that restricts teacher interaction between educators and students.  The law is aimed at making sure that a school district that fires employees for sexual misconduct is liable for similar activity if the fired person is rehired in another school district and then engages in similar behavior.  However, the Association feels that the part of the provision would cut of online chat functions between teacher-student due to the fact the interaction must be public.  For more information check out the article, here.

Beer, Facebook and the SEC?

Remember, the Draw the Law that discussed crowdfunding as a way to raise money?  Remember, I also mentioned you need to be careful how you do it or the SEC may feel you are trying to skirt securities laws.  Well, In the matter of Michael Migliozzi II and Brian Willam Flatow, the SEC brought action against the two due to their use of the Internet to purchase a brewing company for $300 million.   They created a website, used Twitter and Facebook to advertise the site and in return promised that participants would receive a “certificate of ownership” as well as an amount of beer equal to the investment money.  The contributions were never collected, but the two involved settled the matter and consented to a cease and desist.

It always seems like beer and Facebook don’t go well for most people whether it is embarrassing photos of them drunk last Friday night or raising funds without an exemption from SEC.

Facebook Changes its Guidelines and May Be You Should To

Finally, for those of you that use Facebook for your Promotions know that the company has changed is Promotion Guidelines.  Before this year, Facebook used to have you seek approval from them for offerings of sweepstakes, contests, etc . . . . and they had a heavily confusing and overly specific legal compliance “manual” due to the amount of varying sate, federal, and foreign laws that regulate promotions.  However, the new Guidelines significantly more streamlined and it talks about how Facebook features and functionality may or may not be used.   One main example is the old Guidelines used to spell everything out with applicable laws making it a text that was too long as it went through every single jurisdiction.  Now the revised Guidelines state that operators of promotion, themselves are:

responsible for the lawful operation of [their promotions], including the official rules, offer terms and eligibility requirements (e.g., age and residency restrictions), and compliance with regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered in connection with the promotion (e.g., registration and obtaining necessary regulatory approvals).

Check out their Promotions Guidelines

My comment on this is it’s clear that someone at Facebook thought about what they were trying to do and modified their policy with respect to this situation.  Do you think sometimes you could state the functionality and purpose with your web presence with less words than more?  Does it get the point across and is it legally compliant?  Sometimes less is more.

As always if you like this post or any of my other series please “Subscribe” to this blawg to receive e-mail updates.  In addition, follow me on Twitter and “Like” me on Facebook.  If you need to contact me directly, such as for a review of your social policy or a re-drafting, please e-mail me at Ryankhew@hawaiiesquire.com.

*Disclaimer:  This post discusses general legal news and information, but does not constitute legal advice in any respect.  No reader should act or refrain from acting based on information contained herein without seeking the advice of counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.  Ryan K. Hew, Attorney At Law, LLLC expressly disclaims all liability in respect to any actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this post.