Co-Parenting With Christ: "For the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you" ~ Deuteronomy 31:5-7


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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Remembering the L.A. Riots of 1992

20 years ago today my neighborhood, near the intersection of Florence and Normandie in Los Angeles became nationally recognized overnight, but in a very tragic way.  It was a time in my life that I will never forget; the images are permanently etched in my mind.  This morning I woke up with bittersweet memories of that moment in time, sad for what my city endured but proud to call it my hometown.

I was working at Ralph’s grocery store near the corner of Century Ave and Crenshaw Blvd at the time.  My Mother would not let me go to work because she feared that looters would enter the store and there would be dangerous upheaval.  When I called my Manager, a white male, to let him know that I wouldn’t be in to work I asked him if he planned on closing the store, he said no the store would remain open because he did not see any threat.  Sure enough, just a couple of hours after my call the store had been taken over by looters.  One of my co-workers informed me that the Manager was the first person to run upstairs and out of harm’s way, alone.  Wait a minute? I thought the Captain was supposed to go down with the ship? Not this one, he left every man and woman to fend for themselves.  Thank God for my Mother’s intuition.

I also remember driving through the streets of Los Angeles they day after the city had been set ablaze.  Many of the stores that I shopped at and eatery’s that I frequented were literally up in smoke.  I remember we could actually feel the heat from the smoldering brick and mortar.  It is something I never imagined I would experience in my lifetime. 

Though I fully understood the cause of the civil unrest, I never understood why we destroyed our own neighborhood.  The logic behind that has never made sense to me.  We were mad at “The Man”, but we took it out on ourselves. Really? How is that ok?

We couldn’t do routine business in our own neighborhood for a while.  I remember driving to Long Beach, just to go to the grocery store.  I also remember smelling a stench of racism in the air.  The beating of Reginald Denny seemed to remind White people that African American people are dangerous animals who should be feared and not trusted.  Our actions proved us fit for the part that we had been cast.

Though I do not live in Los Angeles anymore, the city will always be home to me.  It is where I was born and raised, where I spent most of my life.  I love L.A. and I have no shame telling people where I hail from.  In fact, when people from other parts of the country ask me where exactly in Los Angeles am I from, I answer their question with a question, “Are you familiar with the intersection of Florence and Normandie?” They usually respond, “Oh where the L.A. Riots started or where Reginald Denny was beaten?”  Absolutely correct. That infamous intersection in Los Angeles will always be home to me.

Post a comment to share your memories of the L.A. Riots of 1992?