Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality
Named for pioneering civil rights hero Fred Korematsu, the Korematsu Center uses research, advocacy, and education to advance justice and equality in Washington state and across the nation. It is dedicated to combatting discrimination, helping communities advocate for themselves, and training the next generation of lawyers who will champion efforts to achieve social justice.
Research Our research focuses on understanding the relationship between law and categories of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, age, and disability, especially with regard to their intersections.
Task force 2.0
In addition to gathering data from the many points of contact throughout the justice system, Task Force researchers worked to identify reasons for disparities, often comparing "similarly situated" persons (those with similar crimes and criminal histories) and documenting differential treatment.
Advocacy We participate in cutting-edge civil rights cases, both via direct representation and through participation as amicus curiae (friend of the court). Law students and faculty have authored numerous amicus briefs on juvenile sentencing, employment discrimination, racially disparaging trademarks, jury bias and more. The Center has also published influential reports on race and the criminal justice system and provides a home for two other ambitious law school efforts- the Homeless Rights Advocacy Project and the Defender Initiative.
Black Lives Matter v. City of Seattle
ACLU of Washington, Korematsu Center, and Perkins Coie file a motion for contempt to enforce preliminary injunction barring Seattle Police from indiscriminate use of crowd control weapons.
Education Our students have hands-on experience aiding in our research and advocacy efforts and we are focused on helping them become agents for social change. The Center has trained countless new lawyers in civil rights advocacy and litigation, installing them with the value of pro bono work and a hunger for social justice.
"My time working with the Korematsu Center during the Arizona ethnic studies trial was a tremendous learning experience regarding trial preparation and strategy. Even more so, it was a truly meaningful opportunity to support a stand for justice. The many years of sustained, collaborative effort of individuals from across the country to secure this trial victory was an inspiration, and a reminder that with the dedication of organizations like the Korematsu Center, lawyers truly can help make this country more just and equitable." - Nathan Duletzke '19, Associate, Stokes Lawrence
"As law students in the Korematsu Center's Civil Rights Clinic, my classmates and I were given the opportunity to provide direct representation to an Arizona inmate in a civil rights appeal. The experience was invaluable and provided me with so many career "firsts", including my first time representing my client, my first time drafting an appellate brief, and my first time arguing before the Ninth Circuit of Appeals. The Clinic faculty and staff were incredibly supportive, which allowed me to build my confidence and develop skills that I continue to use today as a litigator."- Katie Loberstein '16, Associate, Miller Nash LLP
From Bob Chang, Executive Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality and Professor of Law
"We believe that courts play a critical role in protecting or vindicating the rights of politically disempowered groups, and through our direct representation impact litigation and through our amicus briefs, we help bring about positive social change. Consider our role representing high school students in Arizona who successfully challenged a law that had been used to terminate the Mexican American Studies Program in the Tucson Unified School District. Years of litigation and countless hours paid off when the positive ruling told Mexican American children that their stories, histories, and perspectives belong in school classrooms."
Our students and graduates are leaders and changemakers committed to the service of others. Your generosity enhances the foundation upon which we educate powerful advocates for justice, both inside and outside the classroom. Thank you for joining us in educating the next generation of lawyers!