From Lawrence Joe of the Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) on the anniversary of the murder of Joseph Ileto:

On August 10, 1999, Filipino-American U.S. Postal Worker Joseph Ileto was shot by a white supremacist on his delivery route near the North Valley Jewish Community Center in Granada Hills. The attacker had fired upon three children, a teenage camp counselor and receptionist at the center. The shooting cause mild to serious injuries but fortunately they survived the attack. Forty-five-year-old letter carrier Joseph did not survive.

Today on the observance of the 18th Anniversary of the North Valley Jewish Community Center shooting, this senseless hate crime is especially poignant to me and my family. My cousin is the sister-in-law of Joseph Ileto.

Joseph was considered a man with no enemies, a generous friend and co-worker. In fact, he wasn’t even supposed to be working the day he was killed. Joseph had taken over the shift of a colleague who had called in sick.

The Ileto family has inspired me and countless others by speaking out against racial intolerance and promoting love and equality with others. Although crushed by the loss of a beloved son, brother and uncle, they refused to allow the tragedy to consume them. Rather, they began speaking publicly about his death and raising attention to racial attacks committed against Asian Pacific Americans. The family also has set up a fellowship in his honor to work toward education and legislation against hate crimes. In 2000, a U.S. Postal Service branch in Chino Hills was designated in honor of Joseph.

The memory of Joseph Ileto continues to inspire me in my ongoing commitment to advocate for greater equality and justice for Asian Pacific Americans as a member and officer of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates.

In Solidarity,

Lawrence Joe
Immedate Past President, OCA-GLA