A Call For Greater Understanding
A Statement from the UCLA Nikkei Student Union
In regards to the March 25th killings of students Go Matsura and Takuma Ito, we the UCLA Nikkei Student Union would like to express our condolences to the families of the students and also utter our outrage at the persistence of violence in America as a way of life.
We know that the killings occur everyday. We realize that 15,377 gun murders occurred in the U.S. in 1992 alone. We also recognize that an average of 16 people are murdered each weekend in Los Angeles County.
We realize the story of our Japanese brothers represents merely one story of many.
Furthermore we acknowledge the integrated nature of Japanese and Japanese American citizens in the conflict that currently rages through America and the inner cities.
We saw it last November in Gardena when 30-year old Tracy Takahashi was slain when gang members went to the wrong building and killed him in a mistaken drive-by shooting.
We saw it in 1992 when Takao Hirata had to be pulled out of his car by actor Alan-Williams to escape the beating he received as a result of the uprisings in L.A. that year.
Now we have seen it affect us and our community once again, and we say that enough is enough.
We realize that the stories of those 16 or so people killed each weekend in LA aren't told.
Sadly, not everyone has the international clout to voice such outrage over those killings that affect them as these two students or as Yoshihiro Hattori had in 1992.
Yet we make an open appeal to the public to recognize that these deaths are occurring each and every day and will continue to affect all of us, regardless of nationality or race, unless we take steps to alter the situation.
We, as the American people, must not lax into mildly accepting this situation of violence as something occurring every day, but must instead begin to address the very real social inequities that have bred such corruption. The lack of adequate educational training and access in the inner cities, joined with the failure of the state government to provide sufficient job opportunities and our own failure to provide alternatives to the lifestyles that condone such killing, must be addressed.
Furthermore, we wish to make clear that the increasing of police forces will not solve the problems of violence in America, and only seek to obscure the real problems of socio-economic inequality in our society. Increased police repression will only increase the conflict, and this solves nothing.
Furthermore, in response to those citizens that have voiced their opinion that the violence and conflict in America has some type of root cause or even correlation with economic relations between Japan and America serve only to prove their ignorance and racism.
These people seek to continue the type of economic scapegoating of Japan that led to the killings of such Americans as Vincent Chin in Detroit in 1982.
The racist thinking that often appears at the root of such thinking has been utilized by populist politicians throughout history, often to divert accountability from the poorly made economic practices of our own government and corporate entities.
We hope that the American populace will see through such subtle racism and scapegoating in order to join us in recognizing the real root causes of violence in America today.
We, as the American populace, must begin to solve the very real socioeconomic problems in America, and especially in our own backyard, in inner-city LA If we fail in our responsibilities than we too are to blame when the killings lash out and affect the ones we love.
It had been only a couple of years ago when a young woman was shot right here in Westwood. We cannot sit here, as if in some peaceful little ivory tower and wait as the violence spreads, hoping that it will just go away.
All of us must assume the necessary responsibility to end the madness and violence in America and to do what we can to bring about greater peace in this country.
Only through individual and collective effort can the underlying motivators for this violence be solved. Only through real commitment to care and to act to help others can we begin to bring about peace.
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