Los Angeles Riots Experts Available

Scholars ready with analyses of conditions that led to violence, what has changed, and personal memories

Sa-i-gu RIVERSIDE, California – The Los Angeles Riots were a turning point for Korean Americans, who suffered disproportionate losses during six days of violence 25 years ago. The impact of the nation’s first multiethnic riots on this community was so profound that Korean Americans named the event Sa-i-gu – literally April 29, the day the violence began.

Although relations between Korean Americans and African Americans have improved in the last quarter-century, scholars say conditions that fueled the violence – pervasive economic inequality, poverty, unequal educational opportunities, joblessness, and police brutality – remain.

These researchers at the University of California, Riverside are available to discuss various issues related to the Los Angeles Riots, including personal recollections.

Edward Chang

Edward T. Chang

Edward T. Chang, professor of ethnic studies
Director of the Young Oak Kim Center for Korean American Studies
(951) 827-5661
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxNFOauyy74&feature=youtu.be (Charter Local Edition interview)

Chang has studied and been a voice of the Korean community for more than 25 years. He is a leading expert on the Los Angeles Riots, race relations between Korean and African American communities, and Korean Americans. Chang is available to discuss the long history of poverty, joblessness, and racism in South Los Angeles that fueled the violence; how demographic changes have affected relations between Korean Americans and African Americans; and how the riots prompted a surge of political activism and coalition-building by Korean Americans.

“Sa-i-gu gave impetus for fundamental changes in establishing Korean American identity. In the aftermath of the riots, Korean Americans became more visible as they were prominently featured by both ethnic and mainstream media,” he said. “Koreatown has emerged from the ashes as a vibrant, successful, and multiethnic transnational enclave.”

Yolanda Moses

Yolanda T. Moses

Yolanda Moses, professor of anthropology

Moses was a faculty member and provost at CSU Dominguez Hills when the Los Angeles Riots erupted. She is available to discuss her memories of that time, including the presence of National Guard troops assigned to protect the campus.

An internationally known expert on race and diversity issues, Moses also can discuss the economic and social inequality issues that contributed to the violence, how the Los Angeles Riots of 1992 compare to the Watts Riots of 1965, and what has changed in the last 25 years.

NOTE: Moses is conducting research out of the country, but is available for interviews via Skype or email.

Carol Park

Carol K. Park

Carol Park, researcher
Young Oak Kim Center for Korean American Studies
(951) 827-5661

When the Los Angeles Riots began, Carol Park was 12 years old and working weekends in her mother’s gas station in Compton, a suburb of Los Angeles. She recalls the “melting pot of violence and discrimination” she experienced in her youth in “Memoir of a Cashier: Korean Americans, Racism and Riots,” which was published in February by the Young Oak Kim Center.

“Understanding other cultures is important, especially in the United States where we are a melting pot of ethnicities,” Park said. “It’s been 25 years since the L.A. Riots and not much has changed. Racism, discrimination, poverty, oppression, and all the things that helped to spark those riots still exist today. We have to stop racism and discrimination and understand why things like the L.A. Riots happen, otherwise we will continue to have riots and uprisings. I believe that if we can relate to one another, empathize with each other, and see that we are all in this together, we have a chance at becoming a better community and preventing violence.”

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-7847
E-mail: bettye.miller@ucr.edu
Twitter: bettyemiller

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