When the Los Angeles Riots began April 29, 1992, 12-year-old Carol K. Park was working weekends in her mother’s gas station in Compton, a suburb of Los Angeles.
The bulletproof booth that shielded the young cashier from physical harm could not protect her from simmering racial tensions that ignited after the acquittal of four white and Hispanic Los Angeles police officers in the beating of a black motorist. A total of 53 people died in the riots, thousands more were injured, and damage to businesses – particularly those owned by Korean and other Asian immigrants – and other property topped $1 billion before the violence ended on May 4.
Park recalls the “melting pot of violence and discrimination” she experienced in her youth in “Memoir of a Cashier: Korean Americans, Racism and Riots.” The book, released this month, is published by the Young Oak Kim Center for Korean American Studies at the University of California, Riverside. A book signing is scheduled on Tuesday, Feb. 21, from 3 to 5 p.m. in Interdisciplinary 1113. Reservations are requested and may be made by emailing YOKIntern@outlook.com. Parking is free in Lot 24.
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