CAPAC Marks 20th Anniversary of Sa-I-Gu

Apr 27, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – This Sunday, April 29th, marks the 20th anniversary of the start of the 1992 Los Angeles Riots, also known as the Los Angeles Civil Unrest. In the Korean American community, the riots are referred to as ‘Sa-I-Gu,’ a phrase which literally translates into ‘4-2-9.’ In remembrance of this event, Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements:

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-32), CAPAC Chair:  “With the LA riots and Sa-I-Gu, we saw long standing economic distress, racial tensions, and social injustice tear apart one of the greatest cities in the world. In the aftermath of these tragic events, diverse communities came together to build bridges rather than walls. Through greater engagement, meaningful dialogue, and mutual respect, we can move beyond our past challenges and work towards greater economic opportunities and social justice. Twenty years later, there is still much work to be done, and the memory of the riots reminds us of the need to persevere in these efforts.”

Congressman Mike Honda (CA-15), CAPAC Chair Emeritus:  “On the 20th anniversary of the Los Angeles riots, we should take the time to reflect upon how far we have come as a nation in addressing discrimination and racial animosity, as well as how far we still have to go.  Today I stand in solidarity with all wounded communities of the past, especially the Korean American community in recognizing “Sa-I-Gu” and the tragic series of events that have often been overlooked in society’s retelling of the riots.  Today reminds us that we must continue to educate others on lessons learned and to always remember that acceptance and dialogue – rather than intolerance and violence – allow us to form a more equitable society for generations to come.”

Congressman Xavier Becerra (CA-31), Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus:  “Twenty years ago, the Civil Unrest forced a city and our nation to reckon with profound and persistent inequalities which left many Americans without opportunities. On this anniversary we reflect on the hard-fought, positive changes in Los Angeles achieved through dialogue and collaboration among the city’s diverse communities. But we also remember the daily challenge before us – to fulfill the promise of justice and equality for all Americans.”

Congresswoman Karen Bass (CA-33):  “When we look back at the Los Angeles civil unrest over the last 20 years, my memories are bittersweet.  While I can distinctly remember driving by the infamous corner of Florence and Normandie at the exact moment the violence ensued, and feeling an overwhelming sense of grief that the many years of economic distress and racial tensions in South LA resulted in such negativity, I can confidently say that a number of positive outcomes did result, including the emergence of several social justice organizations with multicultural membership working together to rectify conditions in the community. There is no doubt that progress is still needed, but with an ethnic rainbow of dedicated leaders in the community I am sure South LA will continue to improve.”  

Congresswoman Janice Hahn (CA-36):  “The consequences and lessons of the LA riots 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 faced these uncomfortable truths and are continually working toward the changes necessary to be better people and a better city. I believe things are better than they once were, and remembering what happened will keep us focused on never letting it happen again.”

Congresswoman Laura Richardson (CA-37): “Twenty years later out of the horror of the pain and destruction that was the riot, a new LA has arisen with hope on the horizon.  We have made many strides forward thanks to the efforts of local organizations and people of goodwill that worked tirelessly and across cultural lines to build bridges and break down barriers.”

Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-47):  “This anniversary brings back many memories for those who were affected by the riot.  It also brings together many ethnic communities that are committed to working together for racial equality. Let us all reflect on the progress the city of Los Angeles has made to rebuild and embrace diversity. Discrimination is an ongoing battle and we must always fight for social and racial equality.”

Congressman Adam Schiff (CA-29): “Twenty years after the Los Angeles Riots, we are reminded of the continuing need to embrace all of the diverse facets of our community and the importance of mutual respect and dialogue. As we learn from our past and continue to heal our wounds, our community will only grow stronger as we build a united Los Angeles.”

 

BACKGROUND:  The 1992 Los Angeles Riots were sparked on April 29th after a jury acquitted police officers accused of beating Rodney King, an African American motorist. The riots involved thousands of people over the course of six days and ultimately resulted in 53 deaths, thousands of injuries, and approximately $1 billion in property damage.

 

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The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently Chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.