Today, Sunday, April 29, 2007 at 4:01 p.m. or 4:30 p.m. by other reports, marked the 15th anniversary of the Los Angeles Riots/Uprising/Civil Unrest.
Fifteen years ago I was 14 years old. I was 14 years old and relatively new to Black Los Angeles, but I remember it like it was yesterday.
I remember watching as mostly Black people and poor Black people at that unleashed years of fury at the hands of the Los Angeles Police Department and the United States Government.
I remember the smell of fire in the air and the smell of fear in people who weren’t Black. It was not a good time to be in certain parts of L.A. if you were white.
I remember the burning buildings and the fake signs on Korean owned shops that read “Black Owned Business.”
I remember that while the news media showed people looting electronics and furniture, that I saw more people looting food and diapers and other necessities that many just couldn’t afford.
I remember that everything south of the 10 freeway was labeled as “South Central” in news reports including my neighborhood that wasn’t even in south central Los Angeles.
I remember Rodney King, I remember Reginald Denny, and I remember the national guard protecting the neighborhood swap meet, now known as the Slauson Super Mall while doing nothing to protect other businesses.
I remember the citywide curfew and the parties in the street.
I remember Black people destroying their own neighborhoods and when it was done, I remember having to go twice as far to the grocery store than before.
I know that fifteen years later there are still lots that have not rebuilt in south Los Angeles that sit vacant all year long.
I know that fifteen years later, those same economic and social issues that conditions that were prevalent then, are still with us today and that we are still struggling in the same way and given the right conditions, Los Angeles could very well see a repeat of the fifteen years ago.
I know that fifteen years later, in my opinion not that much has changed.