2018 “Day of Remembrance” Essay Contest

Each year, the So. Co. JACL invites Sonoma County, Mendocino County and Napa County high school and middle school students to participate in an essay contest to commemorate the Day of Remembrance (DOR), February 19. Executive Order 9066 was initiated on this day which led to the incarceration of over 120,000 American Citizens and those of Japanese ancestry during World War II. The Day of Remembrance is observed annually to remind us of this unfortunate incident in the history of the United States and the need for continued vigilance to avoid such an occurrence in the future.

Every year, a flier with the topic, criteria and deadline are sent to both public and private local schools through the English and Social Studies departments. Cash prizes are awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in both middle and high school.

We encourage students to participate in this essay contest. It is always an inspiration to read how thoughtful and perceptive the students are when they write their essays.

Essay Criteria and Awards:

High School students: 
Essays should be between 1000 and 1200 words, typewritten – double spaced. Please include a bibliography.
Awards: $400 first prize • $300 second prize • $200 third prize

Middle School students: 
Essays should be between 700 and 900 words, typewritten – double spaced. Please include a bibliography.
Awards: $300 first prize • $200 second prize • $150 third prize



2018 Essay Topic:

The state of California has set aside January 30th as Fred Korematsu Day in honor of his role as a civil rights activist. Fred Korematsu challenged the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066, which authorized the forced removal of Japanese Americans from their homes. He was arrested because he refused to report to an incarceration camp. He became one of three men whose test cases came before the Supreme Court.

Write an essay in which you examine the case and its eventual outcome, discussing its historical significance. What can be learned from the case that is relevant today? Be sure to provide logical supporting details for your position and include citations.

Teachers: If the essay is used for a class assignment, please select the top essays for submission.

Please include a cover sheet with the following information: 

  • Your Name
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • Email Address
  • Your School
  • Grade Level
  • Your Teacher

Essays without a cover sheet will not be accepted. 

Mail Essay to: 
Attn: DOR Committee 
Sonoma County JACL 
515 Petaluma Ave. 
Sebastopol, CA 95472 


Download this year’s flyer with ALL contest information

For resources and any questions contact: Marie Sugiyama