September 12, 2003
Contact: Jonathan Adams, ARC, Tel: (646) 502-8843
Los Angeles, CA—A panel of community leaders, including U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters and LA City councilman Martin Ludlow, will hear personal testimonies from LA residents about the impact of the “War on Terrorism” on their lives. Sponsored by the Applied Research Center and more than two dozen local organizations, the Public’s Truth will be held on Saturday, September 13, 2003 at the First A.M.E. Renaissance Center at 1968 West Adams Boulevard in Los Angeles from 12:30 – 3:30 pm.
“While Ashcroft goes around the country touting the effectiveness of the Patriot Act, we’ve come together to tell a different story,” declares Gina Acebo of the Applied Research Center. “Of families torn apart, of surveillance and unwarranted interrogation of the innocent, and the creation of a climate of fear and hatred that has led to loss, injury, even death.”
The personal testimonies conveyed at the Public’s Truth tell of secret surveillance of immigrant rights activists, hate crimes in schools and businesses, discrimination at the workplace leading to job loss and humiliation, indefinite detention and deportation for minor visa violations, charging higher rents and denying work repair orders from immigrant tenants, and increased racial profiling of suspected gang members as “urban terrorists.” Testimonies link post-911 policies with pre-911 racial profiling of urban youth and immigrants, and to policies that led to the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII.
“Two years after 9/11, there is an undeclared war on our communities where our basic civil rights are the first casualties,” Kripa Upadhyay of the Artesia-based South Asian Network. “The public is unaware of what’s going on. They have to know the truth about the impact of the domestic War on Terrorism on families.”
Los Angeles has been one of the flashpoints on the attacks on Muslims and Middle Easterners after 9/11. According to Robin Toma, Executive Director of the Commission on Human Relations for LA County, “There was over 1000%increase of anti-Muslim/Middle Easterner hate crimes in the 3 months after the 9/11 attacks over the previous year--the highest ever recorded in the Commission’s 21 years of monitoring incidents.”
Other community leaders who will hear the testimonies include: David Tokofsky, LA Unified School District Board member for District 5; Maria Elena Durazo, President of HERE Union, Local 11; Rev. Norman Johnson, Director of SCLC; Rev. Leonard Jackson, Associate Pastor at First A.M.E. Church; Imam Saadiq Saafir, Co-Founder of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California; and Bishop Charles E. Blake of the West Angeles Church of God in Christ.
Los Angeles is one of three cities that will host a Public’s Truth hearing. The Applied Research center is working with labor, faith, civil rights, immigrant and community-based organizations in Atlanta, Georgia; San Jose and Alameda, California; and Chicago, Illinois to reveal the human costs of national security and War on Terrorism policies.
View The Public's Truth: Los Angeles here.
The Applied Research Center is a public policy institute advancing racial justice through research, advocacy and journalism.