After nearly thirty years of struggle and continued efforts to be more inclusive and diverse, the country is once again in the throes of unrest, clamoring for real change. As the nation strives for answers and ways forward in the wake of George Floyd’s death, it is helpful to look back. How did we get here? How can we help make lasting changes? Read on to learn more.
The 1992 L.A. uprising, in response to structural inequities in South Los Angeles, is more than an episode of urban unrest, but a story of Los Angeles and its people wrestling with racial and economic injustices. On April 29, 1992, the acquittal of the four officers who were videotaped beating Rodney King, set off violent rage infamously erupting at the intersection of Florence and Normandie, but black and brown Angelenos were crying out against a criminal justice system and the LAPD that had failed them time and time again. Weeks before the Rodney King beating, Latasha Harlins, a young African American girl was shot by a Korean store owner who was later left off with a light sentence and decades earlier, the death of Euila May Love, an African American woman, shot by the LAPD over a $22.09 unpaid gas bill were painful reminders of pervasive injustice.
As the city was set ablaze, journalists covered the scene, relating the events as they unfolded. Since then, stories unheard have emerged providing us more insight into the multi-layered uprising, complicating mainstream media representations at the time. In remembering the 25th anniversary of the uprising, we look back at those infamous photos that begs the question, what has changed in South L.A.? What changes need to be made the next 25 years?