CAL STATE L.A. : Symposium Studies Inter-Ethnic Strife

Scholars and activists from the city's ethnic communities spoke on their perspectives last weekend at a symposium designed to identify obstacles to multiethnic coalition-building and prospects for cooperation.

Sponsored by the university's Institute for Asian American and Pacific Asian Studies, with a grant from the Korea Press Center, the symposium included a presentation on the fledgling MultiCultural Collaborative, a group of organizations seeking solutions to inter-ethnic conflict in Los Angeles.

Gary Phillips, a co-director of the group, said the collaborative aims to "help people understand that their interests are tied together." He said the group plans to launch organizing campaigns on issues of economic development and education.

Several other presentations focused on relations between African Americans and Korean Americans in Los Angeles.

The Rev. Madison Shockley, representing the African American-Korean American Christian Alliance, said the two ethnic groups need to "broaden points of their social contacts" beyond limited commercial exchanges in neighborhood markets.

Ivan Light, a professor of sociology at UCLA, disputed the notion that Korean American-owned markets contribute to economic difficulties in African-American neighborhoods. Light said a more fundamental problem is the lack of financial resources in the black community.

The papers presented at the symposium will be made available to the public, organizers said.

Information: (213) 343-4774.

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