Remove Hate Symbol on RFK Mural

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We, the students of Koreatown, call to remove the RFK mural by Beau Stanton. Parts of the mural resemble the Rising Sun Flag, which is a symbol of the Japanese Military aggression during the WWII.  It is located at the heart of Koreatown, Los Angeles which has community members who are specifically triggered by the image that strongly reminds them of that flag. There were horrendous, gruesome and inhumane atrocities that occurred under the Japanese occupation. Massacres, raping of women and children, brutal human experimentations, sexual slavery and crimes against all of humanity including people from Asia, Europe and the U.S.A.  All were committed under the Rising Sun Flag. 
 
It is a symbol of hatred, aggression, racism and imperialism.  It is extremely offensive and threatening to survivors, victims, and their descendants.  This symbol has neither educational nor artistic values. 
 
We do not believe that the artist Beau Stanton intended to cause any offense or harm to anyone in the community.  Unfortunately, the RFK mural by Beau Stanton resembles this hate symbol and is offensive to the community members and students in Koreatown.
 
We understand and respect the Freedom of Expression and are not proponents of censorship.  However, this particular art work is a public art mural and it should serve the community where it is placed and should have educational value for students.  Yet, this symbol unbeknownst to the artist, is culturally insensitive to the culturally diverse community of Koreatown. 
 
The RFK mural by Beau Stanton is a Public Art. It is being displayed in public view for the entire community, including students.  If there had been a proper public hearing for this mural before it was placed, if the community was respected, included and given opportunities to participate in the decision making process, this mural would have not been approved and placed in the first place. 
 
The Public Art Ordinance for Mural has the Neighborhood Involvement Requirement which requires the community input because it is a Public Art and the very purpose of it is to serve the community and to provide educational value. Yet, the community was not involved in this, rather ignored.  The LAUSD should respect the community and listen to their voices.
 
The homage to Ava Gardner and the Cocoanut Grove Nightclub has no educational value. Rather, it signifies a deplorable history of segregation and racial discrimination.  As Christopher Knight referred to it in the LA Times, it was a “playground of L.A.’s elite back when the novel phenomenon of Hollywood was a major drive of the city’s booming growth.”  Yes, it was a “No Black” club.  The current majority of Koreatown community members would not have been allowed to enter the club.  Even in 1940s, the first Black Oscar Winner, Haitti McDaniel, was not allowed to sit with her co-stars but had to sit in the back and leave right after receiving the award. Although it is a part of history, we do not wish to celebrate what it stood for.
 
In addition, we wholeheartedly welcome the idea of putting up a new mural. Portraits of three great men: Cesar E. Chaves, Martin Luther King Jr. and Ahn Chang Ho.  The history of these men symbolize the true heritage of the community in Koreatown. These men fought and dedicated their lives for civil rights, liberty and freedom. They rose above all challenges to better the world to which we live in right now.
 
The world has changed so much since then.  We live in a society that celebrates multiculturalism and respect for human dignity regardless of race, religious belief, gender or other distinctions of any kind much more than ever. But we still have so much to learn and grow.
 
Once again, we stand united against hate crimes or hate symbols that undermine social cohesion, basic guarantees of security and the democratic ideals of equality and non-discrimination.  Such hatred strikes not only at an individual victim’s sense of identity but at the entire community as a whole, leaving the community to feel victimized, vulnerable, fearful, isolated, unprotected and unseen by the law.
 
Together, we aim to build harmony and unity of our community.
This community is proud to be identified as a community of colors!
We value our differences and we respect our cultural heritages. 
 
Petition led by:
 
Kyle Joo, Isaac Colendres, Michelle Choi, Marilyn Palacios, Mina Choi, Joshua Dardashti, Allen Kim, Sofia Guerra, Joane Kim, Sheccid Carolina Montoya, Elliot Kim, Shohas Salman, Brandon Bahng, Tellez Jakob, Brian Jae, Moz Angie, Daniel Kim, Magaly Lopez, Albert Min, Frank Ramos, Elissa Kim, Jose Hamendez, Anna Ham, Pablo Heron, Ju Hee Kim, Zuri Zadai, Irene Kim, Zalma Gutierrez, Ji Won Kim, Monica Gonzalez

* Statement on Issues Surrounding Koreatown Mural - Responding to LA Times Articles

https://wilshirecommunity.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/re-Koreatown-Mural.pdf

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