On Friday, May 29, and Saturday, May 30, several Little Tokyo businesses were broken into, including Little Tokyo Pharmacy, RIF LA, Clayson, Maneki Neko, and Oomasa. While Nikkei Progressives is upset about the damage to businesses and property, we cannot let this distract from the fight against a justice system that does not value Black lives.
We are in the midst of a large-scale uprising in response to the unrelenting murders of unarmed Black people by the police. In Los Angeles, organizers from groups like Black Lives Matter-LA mobilized to demand justice for George Floyd and countless other Black people. Nikkei Progressives stands with our Black friends, neighbors, and community members who are protesting against an unjust policing system that fails them time and again.
Unaffiliated parties who broke into businesses do not diminish the urgency or significance of this issue, and we remain in solidarity with these protests, which are fundamentally about protecting Black lives. We know that buildings can be rebuilt but lives cannot.
We’ve seen support for the Black Lives Matter protests from Little Tokyo businesses like JapanLA, whose Melrose location has temporarily closed after being looted, and Far Bar. Little Tokyo store RIF released a statement of support on Twitter even after seeing devastating looting at both their Los Angeles and San Francisco locations:
“I’m not even mad. God has a bigger plan and I know this is bigger than anything that we los[t]. What happen[ed]to George Floyd should have never happen[ed]. Praying for better days for all of us and especially for the black community. They need our support more than ever.”
We additionally reject any calls for increased police or National Guard presence in our neighborhood, as we know that heightened police activity leads to violence, not de-escalation.
On Sunday night, police pointed weapons at Little Tokyo residents on their balconies and reportedly fired rubber bullets. We believe that Little Tokyo should be a safe community for all marginalized groups, so we cannot condone any response that would further endanger the lives of Black people, who are disproportionately targeted by police violence. We condemn those who do not care about justice but are using this protest for their own agenda to foment violence, hate, and division. We amplify the following demands:
1) Prosecute Killer Cops: We demand justice for George Floyd. We demand that Derek Chauvin be charged with first-degree murder and that murder charges be brought against the other three officers involved. The murderers of Black people must be held accountable for their actions. We also demand justice for all the people who have died at the hands of police with no repercussions for their killers, including Christopher Deandre Mitchell, Redel Jones, and hundreds of others in Los Angeles.
2) Defund the Police: On June 1, 2020, Mayor Garcetti’s budget for the year will pass without contest, unless our City Council members act, allocating 54% of the city’s general funds to LAPD with across-the-board reductions to housing, schooling, and healthcare. We need resources and infrastructure rather than more police to have safe communities. We support the People’s Budget LA, developed by Black Lives Matter-LA, which focuses resources on crisis management, healthy infrastructure, and new forms of community safety.
3) Vote L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey Out of Office: Since Lacey took office in 2012, over 600 residents have been killed by the LAPD and she has consistently refused to pursue justice against police officers who commit murder. We demand justice and Jackie Lacey must go. Nikkei Progressives pledges to ++listen,++ support, and build solidarity with Black activists and organizers. We ask you to join us.
Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress
Nikkei Progressives is a grassroots, intergenerational community group based in Little Tokyo. We stand for justice, freedom, and solidarity with all marginalized people.
Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress is a community organization committed to educating the public about the wartime injustices perpetrated on Japanese Americans by the U.S. government aswell as supporting similar campaigns against injustice today.