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Israeli Consulate Co-Sponsors Anti-Hate Koreatown Mural

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It was neither accidental nor incidental that the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles co-sponsored a 20-foot by 50-foot mural unveiled last month in Koreatown that portrayed a Korean young woman.

The post Israeli Consulate Co-Sponsors Anti-Hate Koreatown Mural appeared first on Jewish Journal.

It was neither accidental nor incidental that the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles co-sponsored a 20-foot by 50-foot mural unveiled last month in Koreatown that portrayed a Korean young woman.

Since the pandemic began, in the United States, more than 9,000 hate crimes have been reported against Asian Americans – two-thirds of them women – supposedly faulting them for COVID-19.

The Aug. 24 ceremony took place at the Korean American Federation of Los Angeles, and the mural dedication “was born out of the fact we wanted to express our solidarity with the Asian community after the spa shooting in Atlanta last March,” said Consul General Dr. Hillel Newman. “We decided to do the mural because of the rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans.”  

Following the Atlanta massacre, where Asian women were six of the eight victims, “we approached the Asian community, and out of the talks, this event was born,” said Cambodian-born Andrew Hem of Artists 4 Israel.

Hem said he grew up in an area “where I was one of only three Asians. I never felt I belonged.” His mural shows a young Korean woman wearing a traditional Korean garb, the hanbok. The backdrop displays storm clouds below, rising to a clearer beautiful sky.  

Israel and South Korea have a special relationship, Newman said, because, “We understand their plight. They are surrounded by radicals and extremists from North Korea. We (Israelis) also are surrounded by radicals and extremists. Therefore, it is so important that we stand together.”

James An, president of the Korean American Federation, set the scene for his community.

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“Since the onset of COVID, we have seen a rise in crime against Asians,” he told the Journal. “The crimes are not a foreign thing. They increased exponentially during the pandemic… something along the lines of ‘Asians brought COVID to the United States.’ The ‘China virus’ rhetoric did not help at all.

On the question of whether LA is safer for Asian Americans than other urban areas, An was unequivocal. “It is dangerous everywhere you go these days,” he said. “Northern California was experiencing a large increase in crimes against Asian Americans. Remember, these crimes are continuing to happen. They’re not going away. 

“We (leaders) are advocating hard for the community, trying to raise awareness. We are encouraging people to report these crimes because, you know, many Asian Americans don’t report crimes. They go home and they cry themselves to sleep. They pretend like everything is going to be okay.”

An said their passive approach “might be a cultural thing.

“But we are telling people, ‘you have to report these crimes so the criminals can be brought to justice. If it happens to another person because you didn’t report the crime against you, that doesn’t help the community at all.”

An recalled a conversation with Newman last March after the Atlanta murders.

‘We are with you, and we would like to help.’ -Hillel Newman, Israeli Consul General

“Hey, we are with you, and we would like to help,” Newman told An. 

“How about if we put up a mural that signifies unity and solidarity?” An asked. “Then we reached out to Hem – he’s a world-renowned muralist — and got this partnership going.”

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Asian Americans are not the only beneficiaries of Israeli Consulate generosity. 

Newman’s office also oversaw the distribution of more than 100 computers in South Central to African American and Latino students who were unable to attend in-person classes because of the pandemic. 

Newman said, “We were approached by African American pastors and leaders. They said the children didn’t have computers to link to the schools. They were afraid this would escalate to crime if they didn’t study and get to participate in classes.”

 

The post Israeli Consulate Co-Sponsors Anti-Hate Koreatown Mural appeared first on Jewish Journal.

Source: Jewish Journal https://jewishjournal.com/community/340251/israeli-consulate-co-sponsors-anti-hate-koreatown-mural/

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