"Remem-bearing" and Renewal: Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Los Angeles Uprising/Riot

On April 7-8, 2017, the Angeleno community gathered to "remem-bear" the 1992 Los Angeles Uprising/Riot. We gathered to do our work around history, unresolved trauma, and how it impacts justice issues today. 

Friday evening centered around the stories of Korean Americans and how "Saigu" (4.29-the date when the verdict for Rodney King's trial came out) traumatized this immigrant community. Many businesses were targeted and looted incurring 50% of the one billion dollar property damage.

Dr. Young Lee-Hertig of Innovative Space for Asian American Christianity (ISAAC) gave her account of what she experienced during the Uprising/Riot that propelled her to create a third space to intersect racism and sexism in the Christian community.

Like Dr. Lee-Hertig, the Uprising/Riot for 1.5 and second generation Korean Americans  was a wake up call that we needed to prioritize engaging in our local communities. This unrest instilled in a generation of Korean-Americans, the importance of engaging with civic organizations, being activists, about caring for all members of the community to fight racism and economic inequality. 

Sula Kim of WDSU in New Orleans grew up in Los Angeles and vividly recounted the 1992 Uprising/Riot as a pivotal moment in her life that drew her into journalism and cover stories of injustices in the community (video edited by Hansoo Kim)

Mrs. Sukja Kim recalled how her business was looted but in looking back recognized that "we" included only other Koreans and challenged us to expand our understanding of "we." (video edited by Hansoo Kim)

Context of 1992"Social, Historical and Theological Themes" - Ched Myers

What is "remem-bearing?: Trauma and Response-ability" by Elaine Enns

On the second day of the forum, we had two powerful panel discussions. In the morning, Art Cribbs (Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity), Michael Mata (Azusa Pacific University), Daniel S.H. Lee (Lee & Oh), and Leonardo Vilchis (Union de Vecinos) gave powerful and deeply insightful perspectives that were both personal and historical. 

Morning Panelists: Remem-bearing 1992 - Art Cribbs, Michael Mata, Daniel Lee, and Leonardo Vilchis (Video by Kang Soo Yu) 

The panel session was followed by workshops:

  • Faith-focused organizing (Art Cribbs)
  • Koreatown from 1990-2015: What does statistics tell us? (Soyeon Choi, Junghyun Choi, Cheolho Lee)
  • Social investment and community building in an age of gentrification (Leonardo Vilchis)
  • Women doing justice (Elaine Enns, Grecia Reyes, Elizabeth Leu, Sue Park-Hur)
  • Organizing urban communities for transformation(Michael Mata)

These workshops helped us to dig deeper into the roots of the Uprising/Riot and find ways to connect with each other for the future.

In the afternoon, we had a panel of young adult community leaders, Hyung-In Kim (Fuller Seminary), Grecia Lopez-Reyes (CLUE), Jason Chu (Jason Chu Music), Elizabeth Leu (DOOR LA). They were not living in Los Angeles during the 1992 Uprising/Riot but we asked them where they saw hope as they work in the city and what they envision for the future.

Closing panelists: “Where is the hope?” Hyung-In Kim, Grecia Reyes, Jason Chu and Elizabeth Leu (video by Kangsoo Yu)

Special performances by Jason Chu and Derek Brown (video by Kangsoo Yu)

Special performance by Zehnders (video by Kangsoo Yu)

Collaborative closing worship (video by Kangsoo Yu)

Special thanks

We wanted to thank many volunteers who made this forum possible and so meaningful.

Hospitality and food: Clara Kong, Jeehye Kim, Katelynn Williams

Registration/administration: Lindsay Airey, Tom Airey, Chris Wight
Programming and technical sound: Kyoungseok Oh
Photos and video: Kangsoo Yu and Chris Wight

And finally to Ched Myers and Elaine Enns of Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries for their incredible partnership and wisdom