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

Declaration of Susan Yamasaki

1. My name is Susan Yamasaki. I am a resident of Los Angeles and the mother of Kim Yamasaki.

2. Our experiences with LAUSD magnet schools have been very good. Our home school is segregated. The magnet school that my daughter Kim attends is multi-ethnic. I am Chinese American and my husband is Japanese American, therefore our children are multi-ethnic. In addition, our broader family is multi-racial, including black, Latino and Filipino members in addition to Chinese American and Japanese American members.

3. My two daughters, Kim and Joy, both attend magnet schools and have attended magnet schools all their life. Kim, who is 12 years old, attended Community Magnet and now attends LACES. My daughter Joy, who is 9, attends Community Magnet.

4. The magnet school program has made my children more confident and more articulate. They are better all-around people because of their experience with the magnets. They see people with all different viewpoints.

5. Magnet schools also provide a more challenging quality education. Half way through kindergarten, Kim was reading chapter books while my other friends’ children who attended the home school were still learning sight words. In addition at the magnet schools my children are able to explore their individuality. 6. Lockwood Elementary, Kim’s home elementary school, is very segregated with at least a 90% Latino population. I’ll never forget the day that I took Kim to visit Lockwood to see if she’d want to attend there. At the end of the school day, after students had already been dismissed, and administrator, who was white, ran up to a Latino student who was standing in the yard and screamed abusively at him to “Move it now!” Kim, who witnessed this, burst into tears and begged me, “Please, Mommy. Don’t make me go here!” This experience strengthened my resolve to get Kim into a magnet school.

7. I think it is incredibly important to maintain the bussing and desegregation program in LAUSD. As a Chinese American born in Mississippi in 1967, I know first hand the terrible effects of racial segregation. Kim’s father’s family was interned in the Japanese internment camps during WWII, and we teach our children the importance of a multi-racial, multi-ethnic perspective. If the bussing program were eliminated, it would create a huge hardship on our family. I am afraid that Kim and Joy’s education opportunities would be diminished and I do not want them to lose out on the benefits that the magnet programs provide.

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.