Why Asian Americans Matter in Southern California

Op-Ed: What Asian immigrants, seeking the American dream, found in Southern California suburbs This story illustrates what makes Southern California suburbs unique, and why they matter to Asian Americans, who represent about 10 percent…

Why Asian Americans Matter in Southern California

Op-Ed: What Asian immigrants, seeking the American dream, found in Southern California suburbs

This story illustrates what makes Southern California suburbs unique, and why they matter to Asian Americans, who represent about 10 percent of L.A. County’s population.

For many years, I lived in Pasadena, where it felt safe, clean and comfortable, a middle-class city.

When I finally left in 2005, I didn’t know exactly where I would go, but I knew I wanted to be in Los Angeles, as close as I could.

I didn’t know whether to settle in Southern California, or leave it.

I thought my first choice would be Southern California, a big suburb where, for the most part, people didn’t look like me.

It turns out I was wrong about that. For every Asian person who finds a place in Southern California, there’s another who can’t quite find it.

For me, the choice was simple and obvious: South Los Angeles — Los Angeles Country, as it’s called.

The Asian American community has made a significant contribution to our city, helping build the entertainment industry, our economy and our culture. Many Asian Americans now live here, and many more have moved here.

But they also live on the periphery. In places like Norwalk and Lakewood, as well as in other suburbs, Asian Americans are less noticeable, less accepted and less involved.

What made possible my move south?

My first choice wasn’t a place because it was, it was a place because it wasn’t. For me and many others, it was the South Side, a neighborhood in my mid-twenties that still feels like home.

In the early 2000s, there were few Asian Americans in South Los Angeles, but the neighborhood has changed; today, more than 3,000 people live in Norwalk and Lakewood, a combined population 1.

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