Billboard Controversy Causes Dismay
Illegal Immigration is a delicate subject that has managed to catch the attention of many. A recent Spanish-language news station KRCA, Channel 62 sparked some fury amongst natives against immigrants and immigrants against racism in deciding to post controversial new advertising billboards.
Many billboards were posted for Noticias 62 in several San Gabriel Valley locations that depicted a Los Angeles skyline with Los Angeles, CA written as the heading. The controversy lies in the fact that "CA" was crossed out and replaced with "Mexico" written in bold red letters.
Many responded angrily to the billboard, which was deemed as unexpected according to Lenard Liberman, co-owner of KRCA/62. During the interview he said he was surprised and saddened by the reaction. He also claimed the intent of the ad was to instill pride in the L.A.-area, including the heavily Hispanic populated areas and to promote a newscast - not to make a political statement. But the billboard obviously made a clear political statement to the citizens of California. To some the statement was that crossing the boarder illegally is appropriate and that illegal immigration is appropriate.
The community's mixed emotions over the San Gabriel billboards even got Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger involved. During his interview with KFI-AM (640), on April 28 the governor asked Channel 62 to take down the billboards because he believed that by insinuating that Los Angeles is part of Mexico, this would encourage illegal immigration. When asked about what she thought of the billboard's "message," Santa Monica College student Crystal Jones said, "I don't like the message the billboards promotes, but I do not think that the governor has a right to tell people what they could say or feel."
In opposition of the stations ads, KABC responded to these billboards over the airwaves by organizing a protest in front of the channel 62 main headquarters station.
During the protest, representatives from KABC handed channel 62 anchors flowers in protest of the so-called "Anti-American" ads. SMC student Luis Hernandez said, "KABC has a right to protest. Like many Americans I don't want illegal immigrants taking jobs that belong to the real citizens of this country."
What really ignited the debate was a shocking depiction of a representative from KABC wearing a shirt that had a rat crossed out. Many believed he was depicting people of Mexican heritage as rats. "It is time for us to stop all the senseless acts of racism on minority groups," said Maribel Llamas.
Nelson Alvarado, a SMC student and current web coordinator for the Latino Student Union (LSU) said, "This is a sign of disrespect, and total disregard for the contributions that Latinos have made to this city."
Many SMC students have also felt betrayed by our California governor. "The mask has now fallen," said Nativo V. Lopez, state president of the Mexican American Political Association. He also added that, "those of immigrant stock should have no illusions about what his real sentiments and feelings are toward them."
The protest that the radio station arranged was seen as a racist attack on the Latin community, therefore damaging the reputation of Channel 62, which is known to be a television station that focuses on the Latino community by providing quality programming.
Question: Is Lenard Liberman supposed to be Leonard Lieberman? That would be the more common spelling, but I don't know if his name is spelled differently or not.