Welcoming Back to Little Tokyo in 2021

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LTSC wishes a healthy, prosperous and happy new year to all in our community! 

Erich Nakano

2020 was a year like no other – the COVID-19 pandemic brought tremendous pain and grief, but also brought out the best in people to help those who were hurting; the murder of George Floyd and others horrified us, but inspired us to look honestly at how deeply embedded racism is, and to dedicate ourselves to meaningful change; the economic shutdown threatens the future of Little Tokyo, which drove so many in the community to step up to care for seniors, help those who had lost jobs, and support small businesses struggling to survive.

And so as calamitous as 2020 was, seeds were planted for a brighter 2021. 2020 showed us that Little Tokyo, a community that has weathered many storms over decades of change, remains a compassionate and inclusive community that stands together and helps each other — not only to survive but also to come back stronger and more resilient.  

Little Tokyo Service Center, Little Tokyo Community Council and Keiro partnered to launch the “Little Tokyo Eats” program in April.

Together with other stakeholders, we look forward to welcoming people back to Little Tokyo in 2021 — to come back to their favorite restaurants and stores, to attend treasured cultural events and performances, and to enjoy basketball or martial arts at Terasaki Budokan.  

And we look forward to working with our newly elected city councilman, Kevin De Leon, to plan how the community can direct development at the Regional Connector station, First Street North and the Mangrove site to benefit Little Tokyo’s long-term future.

As the COVID vaccines roll out, we are hopeful that the federal government will make a significant investment in the recovery of communities like ours — and we’ll be advocating for focusing resources on those who have suffered the most — in communities of color who have been hardest hit by the pandemic; to help small businesses stabilize and grow; to assist those who lost jobs and now have huge back rent obligations; investments to house the unhoused and low income families; and resources to provide support for seniors and those who have struggled to cope with isolation and grief. It’s the right thing to do.  

With 2020 finally in the rear-view mirror, LTSC is looking ahead to a brighter 2021 — brighter smiles from seniors seeing friends and family and returning to exercise classes, residents relieved of their financial burdens, children in our afterschool program marveling at the new Budokan gym, and small business owners who can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel. We believe this and more can happen if we all continue to extend a hand of support to each other.

Wishing all of you a special, safe and happy new year and a wonderful 2021!

ERICH NAKANO, Executive Director

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