The start of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month at CSUN featured an event that included two distinguished speakers — one to discuss the 30th anniversary of the Los Angeles uprising following the Rodney King verdict, and the other to delve into her ongoing work for reparations for Japanese Americans interned during World War II.
On April 29, CSUN hosted the event “1992 Los Angeles Uprising: 30 Years Later – Conversations about Cultural Solidarity, Community Building and Hope.” The speakers and faculty members discussed the events that took place 30 years ago on the day that four LAPD officers were acquitted in the beating of Black motorist Rodney King. The program was moderated by CSUN faculty members Edith Chen and Cedric Hackett.
Do Kim, a civil rights attorney, recounted living in Koreatown during the uprising that erupted after the police officers’ acquittal. The program included discussion about the impact the civil unrest had on the growing Asian American community in Los Angeles. Today, CSUN’s faculty members and distinguished speakers show support for minorities and cultural solidarity, and encourage other Asian Americans to feel engaged in their communities.
Traci Kato-Kiriyama also addressed the audience of students, faculty and administrators. She is a member of the HR 40 Coalition, which aims to secure reparations for formerly enslaved and wrongfully interned people, and she is heavily involved in the Nikkei for Civil Rights Redress and Reparations grassroots movement — focused on Japanese Americans incarcerated during WWII, and their descendants. Kato-Kiriyama said she is driven to make reparations for her family, because her Japanese American grandparents didn’t see change made in their lifetime.
The event was sponsored by CSUN’s College of Humanities Academic Programming Fund and Department of Asian American Studies, among other organizations.