Statement from Little Tokyo Community Council

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In the wake of the shooting deaths of eight people in Atlanta, including six Asian women, and the numerous unprovoked verbal and physical attacks on Asian Americans over the last year throughout the country, the Board of Directors of the Little Tokyo Community Council strongly condemns the assaults on our communities and the historic racism that continues to undermine the lives of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders and people of color.

Our Issei immigrant generation faced anti-Asian discrimination upon their arrival in America in the 1880s and formed Little Tokyo and other Japantowns in response. They congregated together, started small businesses, opened temples and churches and created communities where they and their Nisei children could live apart from the restrictions and prejudice of American society. But racism overwhelmed Japanese Americans during World War II when the U.S. government forcibly removed and imprisoned them in concentrations camps without charges and without due process.

Today, the Little Tokyo Community Council represents the interests of the local residents, businesses, religious institutions, arts and cultural organizations and nonprofits in an effort to protect the legacy of our historic neighborhood, which was rebuilt after the war. But with weekly reports of attacks on the elderly in their own communities and the recent vandalism against a Little Tokyo Buddhist temple and local housing complexes, a heightened anxiety has grown out of the sense of violation of what has been considered a safe haven.

The Little Tokyo Community Council joins with other AAPI organizations in encouraging anyone subjected to abuse to speak up. We urge higher vigilance by our communities for those who are most vulnerable. But we also concur with the Stop AAPI Hate alliance that the scourge of racism is the pandemic from which each new generation must seek inoculation and herd immunity.

Anti-Asian hate is a variant of that plague that has crippled generations of people of color and has destabilized American society. The only true cure is to end structural and social racism against all.

As a coalition of different organizations and entities, the Little Tokyo Community Council appreciates the strength and resiliency of working together for a common cause. We call upon all of our communities to work together to fight racism and prejudice in all forms.

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