Civil rights leaders discuss role of news media in 1992 Los Angeles uprising ahead of 30th anniversary

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — As the 30th anniversary of the Los Angeles Uprising approaches, many in the community are reflecting on the lessons learned from this historic period.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Los Angeles brought together many civil rights leaders working to build unity before, during and after the 1992 uprising to discuss the role the press played in covering that moment, what made it preceded and followed.

“I think there are a lot of lessons learned,” said Connie Chung Joe, CEO of Asian Americans Advancing Justice Los Angeles.

She explained why they encourage journalists to avoid the term “riot” when describing the civil unrest that has taken place. “The term riots simply connotes lawlessness, criminal activity, wrongdoing,” she said, adding, “It doesn’t do justice to what was a reaction to a moment of injustice and injustice to the black community.”

The term Saigu is also used by many Korean and Korean American communities. “It literally means in Korean, four, two, nine, because April 29 was the date when the verdict was given,” she said.

1992 Los Angeles Uprising: 30th Anniversary Marked by Month-Long Commemorative Events

“I think the conclusion I have is that multiracial democracy really depends on media that is fair, accurate, and avoids unnecessarily pitting one group against another,” said AAJA-LA President Emeritus Stewart Kwoh. and co-executive director of the Asian American Education Project. .

“The media framing of Korean communities against black communities pitted these two communities against each other. Black people were seen as burning down buildings and looting shops and Koreans were vigilantes on shop roofs with guns fired into the street” , said Chung Joe.

Kwoh pointed out that those who were armed were in the minority. He’s created a program that offers a more nuanced depiction of the precursors that led to the Los Angeles uprising, including the ‘not guilty’ verdict in the police beating of Rodney King, economic injustices in the South Central of Los Angeles and the murder of Latasha Harlins by a Korean business owner.

“The city and county were unprepared to deal with these racial tensions,” Kwoh said. “We were trying to create some civic glue, so we could bridge the differences and make the pie bigger. But I think the media didn’t cover that context,” said Connie Rice, co-founder Connie of the Advancement Project. and Urban Institute

“The suicide issues that followed that weren’t covered by any media, you know, the issues of kids having to give up their future because they had to help their parents rebuild. All those people passed by my office at one time or another and it was really disheartening,” said Angela Oh, a mediating lawyer and race relations expert working alongside other civil rights leaders at the time.

Jarrett Hill, president of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, stressed that diversity in newsrooms is essential. “Not just for journalists, but for editors, for managers, for directors, for CEOs, for owners of companies to have more of a reflection of the community because without that we don’t get the nuance that we talked about,” he said.

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