Today's Google Doodle Is A Powerful Statement Of Resistance

Photo: Courtesy Google.
In addition to renowned holiday animations, Google Doodles routinely celebrate important historical figures. Today's, honoring Fred Korematsu on what would have been his 98th birthday, is no different. However, when you consider the political events of this past weekend, the Doodle takes on a significance that far exceeds the usual birthday wishes.

That's because Korematsu, the son of Japanese immigrants, was a prominent civil rights activist who spent his life fighting racism in the United States. After being arrested for evading imprisonment in a Japanese American internment camp in the 1940s, he used his trial as a platform to argue against the legality of the internment camps. He lost his case, and remained in a camp for the duration of World War II. His conviction was ultimately overturned more than three decades after the war's end.

In a blog post, Google quotes a famous line from Korematsu that resonates in the aftermath of President Trump's latest executive order, which barred refugees and immigrants from predominantly Muslim nations from entering the U.S., sparking protests across the country.

"If you have the feeling that something is wrong, don't be afraid to speak up," Korematsu said.

Korematsu died in 2005, but it seems reasonable to imagine that he would have applauded the protestors, who wasted no time in organizing against the Trump Administration, prompting speedy action from the courts and perhaps forcing the government to dial back a small but crucial part of the order.

Sophie Diao, a Doodler who created last spring's beautiful Earth Day illustrations, drew Korematsu wearing the Presidential Medal of Freedom he was awarded by former president Bill Clinton. She placed internment camps behind him, cherry blossoms around him, and filled the surrounding Google letters with stripes and colors evocative of the American flag.

Like Korematsu, Diao was also born to Asian immigrants.

Google is one of many tech companies (including Apple, Lyft, and Facebook) to come out strong in its support of employees, many of whom are immigrants. A Google spokesperson issued an official statement on President Trump's executive order:

"We’re concerned about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that could create barriers to bringing great talent to the United States. We'll continue to make our views on these issues known to leaders in Washington and elsewhere."

Google CEO Sundar Pichai tweeted his support of Iranian-born employee Sanaz Ahari, who told The Wall Street Journal that the order "turned my life upside down — overnight — without notice."

Today, the company also announced a $2 million crisis fund — its largest ever — which can be matched by up to $2 million in employee donations, and will go toward the American Civil Liberties Union, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, the International Rescue Committee, and the UN Refugee Agency.

Today's Doodle is a small, but powerful reminder of the work that must be done and voices that must be raised if we are to maintain freedom and equality for all. Now, more than ever, Korematsu's words are ones to live by.
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