UEAALDF's Intervention into the
Los Angeles Public Schools Desegregation Case

Declaration of Kim Yamasaki

1. My name is Kim Yamasaki. I attend the 7th grade at LACES Magnet school. Before LACES I attended Community Magnet School from kindergarten to 5th grade.

2. My friend Maki goes to King Middle School, the home school that I would have to go to if LAUSD eliminated the magnet school program. She told me how they had to petition to keep the music program at King, but the program was closed down anyway. Maki said that there is not enough teacher-student time, and not enough honorís and higher level classes.

3. I really support the magnet program. I play the violin, which is very important to me. Itís important to have music all over, not just in magnet schools, because music helps you get through situations in life, and depending on your mood or feeling you can relate to it. It calms you down. If I had to go to King I would not be able to play the violin in school anymore.

4. At LACES, we have a great music teacher, Mr. Monarch. He teaches all the music classes, including beginning orchestra (which I take), advanced orchestra, guitar, junior band, beginning strings, and beginning woodwinds.

5. I chose LACES because when I toured the school, the people I met there seemed happy and had their studies together. I saw the band play and they were really good, so I knew Mr. Monarch must be a good teacher. I toured and visited other schools but I liked LACES best.

6. If LAUSD eliminated bussing, it would stress my parents out, my parents would have to drop off me and my sister everyday, which would mean my mom wouldnít have time to do anything else but drive us around all day. My sister goes to Community Magnet elementary school which is in a completely different area.

7. It would also take a toll on my studies, taking my study time away and adding to my stress.

8. Going to LACES where there are students of all different races has benefited me a lot. I am mixed ethnically, because my mother is Chinese American and my dad is Japanese American. Our extended family also has black, Latino and Filipino members, too. Without the bussing and magnet programs, people would be more segregated. Thatís bad, because if youíre around people who are only like you, you donít really learn about people, just about yourself. Itís an eye-opener to learn with people different from you, you get to learn about other people and their lifestyles, and it expands the way you see things.

9. One of the main benefits of the magnet program at LACES is the way that the school helps students to combat low self-esteem. I think thatís really important. There are a lot of counselors and people to help you with your problems. A lot of students arenít able to talk to their parents and donít feel like they can talk to them. Being at a magnet expands your moral support. A lady came to our Health class from a program called ďRoads to Success.Ē Her name was Samantha Levy from UCLA. She talked to us about sexual harassment. Sometimes students canít talk to their parents about this because theyíre the ones doing it, and they canít talk to their teachers because sometimes theyíre the ones doing it, too.

10. The support for students is always there at LACES, and you can rely on it to be there to help you in whatever you do.

11. Our school has students of all races, which helps us learn more about each other and our different cultures and histories. Last year the school had an International Day and all the different clubs, like the Young Asian Scholars and Young Black Scholars clubs got together. In those clubs, you donít have to be just one race to join, you can be a different race to join. We tasted food from different cultures and got to know about each other better.

12. This case about school integration and the magnet program in LA will have a HUGE impact. If this fight starts in LAUSD, it can spread to the whole world.

13. If it succeeds, then that will mean that the government (white people) would only provide one viewpoint of the world, only focus on white peopleís problems and only see their issues on the world. Weíre still considered the strongest country in the world. How can we continue to be that if we only focus on one group? How can we stay strong if we donít help others and only help ourselves. You canít say America is just white people. Thatís wrong.

14. Because our school is racially and ethnically mixed, people are so interested in learning about other cultures, and want to learn more. Cultures are intertwining as one. Itís really cool that people want to learn about cultures other than their own and to not be self-absorbed.

15. If they segregated the schools, itíll be a huge problem. Caucasian people will get to think that theyíre on top and theyíre not. Their worldview and things around them include other communities, but they wonít know about the struggles of other communities.

16. You canít call the United States ďunitedĒ if itís segregated. The multi-racial schools and country influences the ďunitedĒ in ďUnited States.Ē

17. I am very proud of my involvement in music, and my GPA which has been a 4.0 for two semesters.

18. In our school, the teachers are multi-racial, and include bilingual teachers. Students have a bond with teachers, and every student has at least one teacher they can bond with. Our school strongly influences students to go to college. Students are motivated to get good grades so they can get to college. Weíre taught that itís important to get good grades, even in middle school, because thatís how you learn to study when you get to high school. Students are less likely to get involved in drugs or alcohol because theyíre so focused on their studies. Our teachers are really involved in community service. One of them runs the Good Deeds Club. We raise money and do food drives for charity.

19. We also have poet-in-residence, Mr. Alwan, who does poetry with us once a week. The arts really help your emotional stability and help you with self-expression. It helps you do more than just study and go crazy about your grades.

20. In our school, we get to meet people from all different areas. We donít really live near each other. If we lost the bussing program weíd lose people weíre close to and it would affect our studies.

I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. This declaration was executed in Los Angeles, California on January 29, 2006.

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KIM YAMASAKI