The SAIGU Campaign for the 25th Anniversary of the Los Angeles Riots will revisit the tragic chapter of Los Angeles’ history for the purpose of celebrating unity by hosting various events leading up to a closing commemorative service on April 29, 2017. Almost twenty-five years ago, Los Angeles was torn and divided by the LA Riots that resulted in over 3,600 fires, 2,300 businesses destroyed, 53 lives lost, and over $1 billion in property damage (50% were incurred by Korean Americans.)
There are many signs of progress that can point to a unified Los Angeles since then – In 2012, to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Los Angeles Riots, KCCD launched the SAIGU Campaign. Within the 7-month campaign, efforts were reignited to build trust and deep dialogue amongst the Los Angeles communities through various service projects and events. Over 1,500 leaders attended the final closing commemorative service with local, national, and international media coverage. Those in attendance included elected officials such as then-Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, celebrities such as actor Edward James Olmos and Van Jones, the Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Fire Department, various community leaders, ex-gang members, and those honored as Heroes of Hope.
In the years since 1992, the United States has seen additional incidents of rioting after years of distrust between police and communities of color boiled over into the streets, most notably in Ferguson, MO in 2014 and Baltimore, MD in 2015. Sadly, during rioting in both of these cities, Asian shop owners were also targeted for looting. Then, like now, it is vital that Los Angeles continues to acknowledge injustice everywhere and, now more than ever, heal and see progress in bringing peace and unity to impacted communities, to not let neighbors turn on neighbors ever again.
For the upcoming 25th Anniversary, KCCD will hold a series of events, which include a Clash of Colors Film viewing and discussion on March 25, 2017, Prayer Breakfast on April 4, 2017, and video interviews in capturing stories of the LA Riots through partnerships with California State University Los Angeles and Koreanamericanstory.org. In addition, KCCD will be incorporating “I Am #FACEofLA”, a socially driven idea to showcase the ethnic, cultural diversity and unity of those in Los Angeles. The many faces that we come to see have such a strong identity and story to tell, through which we encourage all to share their photo on social media with the phrase and hashtag "I am #FACEofLA"
Throughout the SAIGU Campaign, KCCD will be identifying leaders and elected officials to be part of the host committee, along with collaborating with supporting organizations within faith, business, media, and elected officials’ offices. Currently, Sheriff Jim McDonnell of the Los Angeles Sheriff Department who was the former Assistant Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and Commander Blake Chow of the LAPD have committed to be in support of the SAIGU Campaign. KCCD has kicked off the SAIGU Campaign during its 15th Anniversary Gala Dinner held on November 15, 2016.
The SAIGU campaign will culminate with the Closing Commemoration Service, to be held on Saturday, April 29, 2017 from 3PM – 6PM at Oriental Mission Church in Los Angeles. With an expected gathering of over 2,000 attendees, those attending will include from local, state, and national elected officials, celebrities, law enforcement agencies, faith leaders, community leaders, business leaders, ex-gang members, victims and those affected by the LA Riots.
The SAIGU Committee is an initiative of KCCD. For more information about KCCD, please visit kccd.org.