2017 SAIGU Campaign

We asked members of the 2017 SAIGU committee to reflect on their memories, thoughts and experiences with the riots. Here, you'll find a collection of their comments

LA Voice is honored to participate with KCCD and other partners in uplifting a story that we need to re-tell and re-interpret again and again until we understand the depth of our pain, the breadth of our love, and the horizon of our vision. We believe that these kinds of engagements are integral to our wholeness as a people, as we strive for a county of racial equity and abundant life for all—a place where kinship reigns over fear and division. We lean into kinship and hope with our friends at KCCD.
— Zachary Hoover, Executive Director, LA Voice
“Advancement Project California was born when the co-founders realized that the injustice we witnessed in 1992 between communities of color could not be resolved without thinking about the systems and structures in our society, which lift certain people into power and leave the rest of us to fight for the crumbs. And so, 25 years later, we take pride in our partnerships with local organizations and community leaders such as KCCD, to build voice and power in Los Angeles and throughout California. We are pleased to see a growing number of elected officials that come from our communities. But there is a lot more to do. There are still too many systems and policies that need dramatic reform to fulfill the dignified dream we all share. As we commemorate with the SAIGU Campaign, let us continue to broaden our unity in our fight for a progressive California.”
— Advancement Project California
We the City HRC support the SAIGU Campaign and the great work being done by the KCCD/FACE leading up to the Commemoration Service of the 25th Anniversary of the Los Angeles Riots, all are in favor.
— City of Los Angeles Human Relations Commission
Came away wondering if after 25 years our racial relationships are deep enough? Have we yet not learned about racial and cultural diversity? The Civil Rights Act changed laws and changed external behaviors toward African Americans and Mexican farm workers. But it is obvious today we need to go deeper and broader to include Asians, American Indians-all of God’s children.
— Dr. Jesse Miranda, The Jesse Miranda Center for Hispanic Leadership
A quarter century ago I could see from the rec yard of a Whittier youth correctional facility plumes of hot smoke rising from the city of LA. The mostly black and brown youthful offenders surrounding their counselor watched in silence, so close and yet so far from the destructive reaction to the racial divide they already knew existed. Later we talked about ‘hurt’ being the cause and ‘anger’ being the effect. I could not give a quality answer to their hurtful and angry accusations toward a justice system that absolutely did not acquit them of any of their crimes. I still can’t give a quality answer, only hopeful questions. Anniversaries are watermarks for where we’ve been and where we are. I hope we’re not where we were.
— Jack Miranda, Program Director, Jesse Miranda Center for Hispanic Leadership
The Ecovillage Movement has grown into a worldwide phenomenon, creating healthier, more socially just, and more environmentally sustainable neighborhoods, villages, and towns. The Los Angele Eco-Village grew out of the 1992 uprisings in the north end of Koreatown, and is now among the world’s most prominent urban ecovillages. As a 37 year resident of this neighborhood and a founder of the L.A. Eco-Village, I am proud to be commemorating SAIGU with KCCD and the many diverse groups with whom we continue to engage in positive change in our communities.
— Lois Arkin, Founder/Executive Director, LA Eco-Village
I am excited to be part of the SAIGU Campaign for the 25th Anniversary of the LA Riots and the excellent work that KCCD is doing in bringing the multicultural communities together, especially the Korean and Black communities. What makes this city great is the work that the KCCD is doing along with other faith-based organizations.
— Lem Daniels, VP/Financial Advisor, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
A few days after 4.29, my mother took me to a peace rally in Seoul International Park in Koreatown. I participated in a peace march along with thousands of Angelenos that afternoon, and observed the charred ruins of Koreatown along Western Ave. We chanted in unison, “We want peace! We want justice!” I envisioned a movement towards the “beloved community” that day and that’s why today, I am an attorney who is playing a role in helping this City bridge the gap between communities and create more equities for those in need.
— Paul Jung, Attorney, Project 4R/API RISE
At the end of April, 1992, I was studying for finals on the other side of the country, in New York City. I followed the news closely as events unfolded across the community, including areas of town where my father grew up. But in what may have been one of my last expressions of teenager-dom, I neglected to call home to check in on my parents in Santa Monica. After a couple of days, when I finally called, my mother read me the riot act (so to speak). Clearly, one of our core principles, shared by African Americans, Korean Americans, Latinos, and Jews alike (and everyone else), is “Call your mother!”
— Shawn Landres, PhD., Commissioner, County of Los Angeles; City of Santa Monica
KoreanAmericanStory.org is honored to partner with KCCD to capture the stories of those whose lives were impacted by SaIGu. As a nonprofit organization whose mission is to capture and preserve the stories of the Korean American experience, we consider LA Riots to be one of the seminal moments in the history of the Korean American community. Its impact reverberated from KoreaTown in LA to all different parts of the United States where Korean Americans worked and lived. Those of us in LA struggled to rebuild our lives after the traumatic, life-altering experience of violence and destruction aimed at Korean Americans. Many of us were angry at the injustice of racism that still pervaded parts of our society, and some of us were challenged to be introspective about our own role in miscommunication and misunderstanding that existed between Korean and Black communities.
— HJ Lee, President, KoreanAmericanStory.org
During the LA Riots I was living in Van Nuys, and I watch everything unfold in the news, an extraordinary event!
After so much tragic that happen and after years that have passed I have witness better community relations between African American and Latinos. I believe God has done great work with both communities to create a better Los Angeles today.
— Pastor Jose Moreno, Iglesia Pentecostes Pena de Horeb
Centro de Vida Victoriosa Church has been part of Los Angeles for more than 30 years, and many of our members were affected by the tragedy of the Los Angeles Riots. We are pleased to join with KCCD in remembering the 1992 civil unrest. This event in not only about remembering this tragedy, but more important about how we can work together for the unity and the betterment of our communities in our city.
— Pastor Carlos Rincon, Centro de Vida Victoriosa Church
Hyepin Im and KCCD have brought forward a tremendous platform for healing with the annual Saigu 429. While time has passed since the LA Riots the scars remain. With a movement like Saigu 429 we can embrace our differences and find a common ground to heal and love.
— Schenae Rourk, President, Redwood Resources/NAWBO-LA
We join KCCD in remembering Saigu, and reaffirming the collective power of our communities in the fight for peace and justice.
— Renee Tajima-Peña, Filmmaker and Professor, UCLA Center for Ethno Communications
Remembering our past and creating a community vision for the future is exactly what Saigu is about. We’re honored to be a part of a campaign with such a diverse group of organizations and community leaders.
— John Yi, President, Korean American Democratic Committee
The SAIGU Campaign is an amazing example Christ’s hope, healing, and humility in the world. As a young grad student/pastor, I’m constantly inspired by Hyepin Im and KCCD’s example as they blaze the trail of healing and restoration for generations to come. On a personal note, I’m extremely grateful for Ms. Im’s direction and mentorship in becoming a community change agent.
— Kevin Kang

SAIGU Prayer Breakfast

Our “only in LA” moment - a truly multi-faith, multi-ethnic prayer breakfast at a historic synagogue that stands as a symbol of civic unity - was the ideal way to begin the SAIGU commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the events of 1992. It was a powerful reminder of the faith community’s crucial role in ensuring the freedom and dignity of the most vulnerable.
— Shawn Landres, PhD., Commissioner, County of Los Angeles; City of Santa Monica
This morning gave me tremendous hope for the future and reminded me of the countless blessings in all our lives.
— Rabbi Beau Shapiro, Wilshire Boulevard Temple
I was so touched today at SAIGU’s Prayer Breakfast by the powerful stories shared by a diverse group of faith and community members who attended. Stories of pain and suffering, and stories of love and hope that were in display during and after one of the darkness moment in Los Angeles. Today, I was reminded to seek forgiveness because I was so disconnected from so much pain, and I hope always to stand in solidarity with others in pursuing the breakdown of the walls of oppression, so that this part of history does not repeat again.
— Guillermo Torres, CLUE LA
It was amazing to be part of a beautiful tapestry of cultures, sharing a united vision of peace and harmony.
— Rabbi Susan Nanus, Wilshire Boulevard Temple
Today’s prayer breakfast gave me a glimpse of what it can look like when heaven comes to earth. It was amazing to see people from various faith traditions to gather and seek the peace of the city. The table is definitely much larger than we can ever imagine!
— Kevin Kang
I was reminded again of the truth of these words from the Prophet Jeremiah: “And seek the welfare of the city and… pray to the Lord in its behalf; for in its prosperity you shall prosper. “(Jeremiah 29:4-7) We are all in this together.
— Rabbi Laura Geller, Rabbi Emerita, Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills

2012 SAIGU Campaign

"We are excited about the opportunities that the SAIGU campaign will create as well as new possibilities for the city of Los Angeles. Being a resident of South Los Angeles during the L.A. Riots, I saw firsthand not only the destruction of property, but worse, the destruction of the dreams and hopes of both residents & merchants in the region. As we approach the 20 year anniversary of the unrest, we are grateful to be partnering with KCCD along with other organizations and community leaders to build bridges, foster new relationships, and work together to restore the hopes and dreams that were displaced during that time."

Pastor Touré Roberts
One Church International

"I remember the riots because April 29th was on a Friday! My last day of work for a company in the City of Bell, after accepting the job to come work for the church the following Monday, May 2nd, just a mile away from the epic center of Florence & Normandie. My faith had been challenged from the first day on the job; wondering if I had made the right choice. We had no power in the area, most of the stores, gas station, and other service centers in the area were destroyed. Twenty years later, I am still in the business of helping to save communities."

Robert Rubin
Executive Director, Vermont Village Community Development Corporation

"The image of a past moves me through a two dimensional gallery that reminds me of an inner volcanic cloud of disorder that engulfed, killed, stole and destroyed a City Of Angels. Today, I join KCCD, the SAIGU partnership and all those who have raised themselves from the suffocating ashes to breathe life into a new foundation that will be the cornerstone of the 20th year anniversary."

Sal Martinez
Commissioner, L.A. County Department of Probation

"The financial loss my family incurred is about 350K. Two storefronts and 250K in wholesale inventory. My mom didn't have the proper insurance to cover it, so it was a complete loss. She got out of small business completely and helped my father who was in a different business - real estate - which at the time was a very down market. It was a difficult time for my family. I saw my parents fight a lot during this time - mostly because of the financial strain, im sure. I have two siblings and am just now realizing how expensive it is to raise children in LA. I'm grateful to my parents for shielding me from the problems they had and allowing me to grow up like normal kid. We were victims. But, I speak for my whole family when I say we certainly don't feel like victims. God provided miraculously, as he always does, and we are all well today except for my father who passed away 2 years ago."

Sean Na
Realtor, Modern Realty Co.

"I am proud to be part of SAIGU, which aspires to build a better Los Angeles. It is indeed only together that we can build a better society, and Muslims are happy to join hands with our Korean brothers and sisters in doing just that."

Shakeel Syed
Executive Director, Islamic Shura Council of Southern California

"Being a part of ‘Chung Yuhn Dahn,’ a youth task force who patrolled Koreatown during the LA Riots 20 years ago, I did the best I could to protect some parts of my hometown while I watched other parts burn up in flames. I hated the police, the white media, Blacks, Latinos, and even some Koreans for a long time. My feeling are much different now, and rather than living in the past, I'm doing what I can to support SAIGU and continue to move forward."

Sonny Kang
Koreatown native

“The 20th anniversary of the Los Angeles Riots is an opportunity for us to reflect on the progress we’ve made in building a city and a community that is more inclusive, more diverse and stronger than before. The causes of the riots were complex and varied, and in rebuilding neighborhoods affected by the riot, we were also building those ties that have brought us closer together. We are proud of the diversity in Los Angeles, and we are proud that our city is home to folks spanning every culture and community in the world. Organizations like Korean Churches for Community Development have helped lead us in the rebuilding effort early on, and in healing the wounds and divisions that led to the riots in the first place.”

Speaker John A. Pérez
California State Assembly

"The Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) is pleased to join with KCCD in remembering the 1992 civil unrest. APALC worked with many leaders after the civil unrest to heal racial tensions and to restore economic vitality to the communities. We continue to work with the Korean American community to provide services and to advocate for political engagement."

Stewart Kwoh
President & Executive Director, Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California

"I salute the riot victims for their fortitude, courage, and faith in America in painstakingly restoring what appeared to be irreparable damage, to preserve the city. Though excruciatingly painful, it is imperative to re-examine the incident to prevent a recurrence and improve the progression of our great society. We learned and took positive steps toward better relationships, however, we must go beyond political rhetoric. We must establish a level of opportunity, happiness, and equality for the minority as well as the majority. In that regard, KCCD's active leadership is deeply appreciated."

William P. Min
Former President , Korean American Legal Advocacy Fund (KALAF)

"The Los Angeles Riots were one of America's great tragedies, especially for the Korean-American community. Chaos Theory Music is committed to telling this story and capturing its sound. We will gladly provide music production and creative content in support of this important and necessary campaign."

Woody Pak
CEO & Composer, Chaos Theory Music, Inc.

“I feel truly blessed and honored to be part of the SAIGU Committee. After almost twenty years since the L.A. Riots, I hope that we can bring our multi-ethnic communities together to heal and grow. Instead of a quilt of communities with separate blocks and borders, our communities must intertwine to create the unbreakable tapestry that is Los Angeles.”

Yonah Hong
Community Affairs Specialist, CRA-LA

"Much like George Holliday capturing the infamous Rodney King video, David Kim has caught the unconscionable acts against Korean American's on camera. His documentary is not to be missed."

Jennifer Sanderson
Executive Director, Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE)

“As a Christian pastor, I honor my Korean brothers and sisters, along with all the guests who gather today seeking to advance the cause of unity and reconciliation. Your steadfast belief that the tragedies of the past can be transformed into new possibilities will undoubtedly bring health and hope to all who reside within the boundaries of this City.
Today, I join my heart and hands with yours as we all pursue the Creator’s mandate to ‘love our neighbors as ourselves.’ May God bless your efforts to honor, respect and advance goodwill, peace and prosperity to all. You are indeed a blessing to us!”

Dr. Jim Tolle
La Iglesia En El Camino, Church On The Way

"The LA Riots of 1992 was a historical event that impacted the lives of so many across the city and around the world. We are honored to partner together with the SAIGU campaign to release healing into these past wounds and to envision TOGETHER what is possible as we walk in the power of love and reconciliation."

Jonathan and Sharon Ngai
Lead Directors, Radiance International (Hollywood House of Prayer)

"The Asian Pacific American Legal Center appreciates the leadership of KCCD in remembering the impact of the 1992 civil unrest in Los Angeles.  We believe it is important that we learn the lessons of that period.  We must work together to make sure that the criminal justice system is fair to all, that we work to peacefully resolve racial tensions and avoid stereotyping, that we make sure that economic opportunities are open for all, and that we make renewed commitments to work together for community revitalization."

Stuart Kwoh
President and Executive Director, Asian Pacific American Legal Center

"The King Riots of 1992 reflect how fragile and complex relationships are within the diverse communities of Los Angeles. The SAIGU Campaign to Serve, Advocate, Inspire, Give and Unite is an integral thread that is weaving our communities together.  We salute the Korean Churches for Community Development for commemorating this pivotal event in our history, and for their work to unify Los Angeles and heal the wounds that tore us apart."

John Hope Bryant
Founder, Chairman and CEO, Operation HOPE

"20 years ago our city erupted into chaos leaving 53 dead and causing a billion dollars in damage. The physical and emotional scars are still healing.
And while the riots now belong to history, the consequences and lessons of those days remain with us. The riots forced us to face uncomfortable truths about our society. The truth that entire communities were economically ignored and isolated, left with incredibly high unemployment. The truth that law enforcement must build good relationships and understanding with the people they are sworn to “protect and serve.” The truth that there is no excuse for violence and destruction, which only weakens the cause of justice and destroys our community. And the truth that no one should be left to live without hope and opportunity.
I pray that we have learned from the riots. That we have faced the uncomfortable truths and are continually working toward the changes necessary to be a better city collectively, and better people individually. I believe things are progressing from where they once were, and remembering what happened, I believe, will keep us focused on never letting it happen again.”

U.S. Congresswoman Janice Hahn