A member of Generation X and a second-generation Korean-American, Alexander Kim was born in Los Angeles. He currently works as a consultant working with local government in order to connect government and local communities, businesses, and nonprofit organizations. The 1992 L.A. “Saigu” riots had a significant impact on his passion for political science as he came to realize that there was a need for Asian-American leaders in office, not only in L.A. but also throughout the United States. After his college education at UC Irvine, Mr. Kim took his first job working for the city of L.A. at the mayor’s office. Throughout his 15-year career in politics, he gained experience working with different communities of people from all different kinds of backgrounds. His commitment to making his community a better place is a testament to his extraordinary drive and dedication.
Hyepin Im – SaIGu LA Riots
Hyepin Im, an MBA student in 1992, recalls how the media falsely portrayed Korean Americans as the main aggressors during the LA riots.
Han Sung Chang – SaIGu LA Riots
In 1991, Han Sung Chang joined a youth group that provided protection services to Korean Americans, especially shop owners who were most at risk when they closed their shops at night.
Inha Cho – SaIGu LA Riots
Inha Cho, president of the Korean Veterans Association in 1992, recalls gathering veterans of the Korean Marine Corps to go into the areas of rioting in order to protect Korean Americans and their livelihoods.
Joe Ahn – SaIGu LA Riots
Joe Ahn recalls feeling both fear and anger during SaIGu: fear that his father would get hurt during the riots, and anger that the people who were most affected by the public’s expressed frustration with the government were the people who had the least resources. As businesses went bankrupt in Koreatown, new laws were created that effectively made it very difficult for the common types of Korean-owned businesses to reopen. Joe Ahn played a critical role in helping to pass a revitalization act that included components such as: loans and tax credits for Korean-owned businesses.
Richard Choi – SaIGu LA Riots
Richard Choi is the current vice chairman of Radio Korea, and was the vice president of Radio Korea in 1992.
Michael Woo – SaIGu LA Riots
Michael Woo was the first Asian American elected to the Los Angeles City Council, and served from 1985 to 1993.
TC Kim – SaIGu LA Riots
TC Kim, a journalist in 1992, hit the streets to capture photos during the LA riots, even though his wife asked him to stay home.
Carol Kim – SaIGu LA Riots
Carol Kim was a graduating high school senior when the LA riots broke out, but she was already a leader committed to overturning injustice.
Blake Chow – SaIGu LA Riots
Commander Blake Chow is Assistant Commanding Officer – Operations West Bureau, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).
Jinho Lee – SaIGu LA Riots
Jinho Lee, journalist at Radio Korea (KBLA-AM 1580) in 1992, recalls how Radio Korea became a makeshift command center during the LA riots.
John Lim – SaIGu LA Riots
John Lim, then president of the Korean American Bar Association, recalls his experience of SaIGu and how he was moved to mobilize a team of over 80 lawyers to provide pro bono legal services for Korean Americans in the aftermath of SaIGu.
Sang Soo Park
Sang Soo Park, born in 1929, recounts the days in Korea when everyone was starving and his immigration to the United States to join his brother who worked at a chemical factory.
Seung Nam Lee
When riots erupted throughout Los Angeles in 1992, the same thing was happening in Atlanta—destroying the local K-town area.
Race(ism) 101 – Reflections on the Sa-I-Gu LA Riots
“The ultimate world-historical significance–and oddity–of Los Angeles is that it has come to play the double role of utopia and dystopia for advanced civilization,” Mike Davis, City of Quartz.
I was driving home, listening to 92.3 The Beat, a hip-hop radio station, when the acquittal verdict for the three police officers charged in the Rodney King beating was announced by the DJ. This was a year or two before the takeover of The Beat by DJ Theo Mizuhara, his silky voice becoming synonymous with all things hip-hop. I wonder if he would have been able to calm the rage of his listeners, whether his Japanese-American background would have meant anything for those calling in to voice their outrage and pain. I can remember how the ever-present sun made it necessary for me to put down the sun visor even though I was wearing sunglasses. It’s funny how you remember such tiny details.