On the 30th anniversary of the Los Angeles riots, Korean American and Black community leaders are hosting a series of unity events to educate young people from both groups about a turning point in the city’s history and to reflect on the ongoing work of healing past wounds and building trust.
Korean Americans who lived through the uprising refer to the event as “Saigu,” which translates to “4-29.” April 29, 1992, was the first day of the riots, which began after a jury acquitted four white police officers in the beating of Black motorist Rodney King. Six days later, more than 50 people would be dead and 3,000 businesses destroyed or looted, nearly half of which were Korean-owned. Damages totaled about $1 billion.
“Saigu has become almost like a memorial for Korean Americans,” Connie Chung Joe, chief executive officer of Asian Americans Advancing Justice — Los Angeles, told NBC Asian America. “It’s a moment of profound sadness and loss, of feeling so targeted and so abandoned.”
Six Korean and Black organizations — including AAAJ, Los Angeles Urban League and Korean American Coalition — are hosting a peace gathering at Koreatown’s Liberty Park on Friday, bringing together recording artists and spiritual leaders to reflect on the impact of the riots on both racial groups. The musical performances from young Asian and Black artists, Joe said, are meant to draw in younger audiences who don’t learn much about the event in school.
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