By Hyungwon Kang
Los Angeles is home to my family.
I grew up in L.A., met and married my wife Daisy in L.A., and the first two of our children were born in L.A. My grandmother’s grave is at the Forest Lawn Cemetery, where the late pop star Michael Jackson is also interred. My mother still lives in her Koreatown home where she maintains an immaculate organic vegetable garden.
As far as I remember, there were always risks to living in L.A. In my 8th grade, three big boys ganged up on me, punching me in the chest and stole my Schwinn BMX bike. In the 1990’s, when I was on the staff of the Los Angeles Times, we all had extra chain-locks to secure our company-issued car trunks, to slow down any would-be robbers.
Losing property to thugs and robbers is one thing, but during the 1992 L.A. Riots, many victims lost something more important, their American Dreams.
“Before getting shot, I had an American Dream, after (being) shot, I lived scared, no more dreams, I have had health problems. I’ve been scared a lot and it took at least 20 years for me to relax and be OK,” said Frank Park, who was shot in the neck during the 4-29 riots.
Another family’s American Dream was also shattered. Eddie Lee, the third generation only son of his family, was killed during the second night of the L.A. Riots. His three friends, who all suffered gunshots while riding in the same car with Eddie, had their American Dream shattered and have been suffering with years’ of health problems arising from the injuries, physical, emotional and mental problems.